Mark Cuban appeared on The Musers of 1310 The Ticket on Tuesday morning and talked quite a bit about the Mavericks, to no one's surprise. You can read specifically about his comments as they related to the NBA trade deadline that's quickly approaching on Thursday right here, but here's a full transcript of what he said about the Mavericks.
Beyond the trade talk, the highlight of the interview was Cuban's thoughts on an aging Dirk, where he says that he could easily see him playing 20 or more seasons. Dirk is currently in his 18th season and has a player option for next year that he's widely expected to pick up. The Dirk comments start about seven questions in, if that's all you're here for.
Big thanks to Jake Kemp for providing the audio.
On whether they've exceeded his expectations
"No, hell no, because we haven't been consistent at all. At the beginning we could blame injuries and I think we surprised some people early on, but we've got to be better top to bottom, more consistent. With a couple exceptions, we've played well against good teams and played down against bad teams, and that's hurt us. Our second unit hasn't been good enough and we've really got to figure out how to make that better. Our first unit has actually been pretty good, and has actually performed up to our expectations most of the time, but we've got to be stronger with our bench."
On Chandler Parsons' recent play
"For Chandler, you can see him getting over what was bothering him, he's trying to get some of his explosiveness back. Still not 100 percent, you can see when he goes for a dunk, he wants to really get up and he's kind of "Dirk-ing" over the rim -- that's a new verb -- but he's certainly come a long way and he's been our best player over the past few weeks. But I think Wes has gotten more athletic, he's dunking the ball more, but he's still doesn't have his explosiveness back, there's still a little ways for him to go. Then again, all that said, it's still our second unit and that's really we've struggled."
On whether he'll think Parsons will opt out
"We haven't talked about it at all, and we talk about a lot of stuff. Chandler and I are talking all the time about this or that, so I haven't got that sense, but I haven't talked about it."
Is Parsons going to be traded?
"No, no, I don't see that happening at all. Maybe there's three or four guys in the league where the answer's 'yes,' no matter what they want, other than Dirk. But we're not getting those offers."
On whether the team will be active at the trade deadline
"Yeah, we're trying to be! We're trying to be! I don't think there's going to be any swinging for the fences kind of deals. We think we have some room to maneuver to improve our bench, but I don't think there's going to be any blockbuster type deals or anything like that. Mostly, 'this guy hasn't really performed to expectations on our bench, this guy hasn't really performed to expectations on yours,' maybe a change of scenery type thing. We're not close (to anything), but we're certainly having conversations."
On Zaza Pachulia's overall play
"Zaza has been better than we expected and better in the locker room than we expected, but we've liked him for a long time. When we traded for him, it wasn't the first time we tried. His consistency has really been a surprise. It's hard, because he hasn't played a ton of games or a ton of minutes in the last 10 years of his career, for him to all of a sudden be a starting impact player like that, that is a surprise. Fear the noggin, baby."
Could he take just about anyone in a back alley fight?
"That's a good question. On our team? Yes. There's probably a couple other guys who are a little bigger, stronger, but Zaza's hard, there's no quit in him. He might be bloodied, broken, but he'd be like that Monty Python skit, 'it's merely a flesh wound' and keep on going."
On this photo
"Let me just say this. When we did that, the Mavs were on the upswing, we had been really bad for so long, this was 2000 or 2001, and they promised us, they promised us ... that this was going to be a cover shoot. So we were like, 'this is a cover shoot, we'll do whatever you want us to do!' For Sports Illustrated, even though there might be some jinx, we're going to go for it. And it didn't even come close to the cover. I'm going on the record, they took advantage and lied to us. [laughs]"
On Dirk's upcoming retirement
"It would not shock me if he tried to go plus 20 (seasons). It would not shock me at all. It really depends on what we put around him. When you watch how Dirk plays now, he's not (in the first quarter) just diving on the floor. Dirk lets the game come to him and really tries to save for the fourth quarter when he thinks we'll need him. When he thinks there's a turning point in the game, you'll see him get more active. Other than that, he's really trying to set up everyone else on the team. Because he plays that way, I think he'll extend his career, and because we try to put players around him that enable that, I think we can help extend his career. He doesn't play with athleticism anymore, we're not looking at him to be a defensive stopper or a rebounding champion. There's always going to be a role for someone who can shoot and get a shot off. Could he play past 20 if he body allows him? Yeah, I think he could play past 20 years."
On Dirk and how much fun he's still having
"Dirk's a great guy. It's not like he's that guy in the locker room where you're like, 'God, we can't wait til he retires, or ,you know, I can't wait til we get on the road so we don't have to see him as much.' It's the exact opposite. He really has that great spirit, he keeps guys having fun, he's still coming in early, he's still coming late, if his shots not on, he's going to come in or Holger's going to come in and he'll work on his shot with him. He's doing all the things and sending all the messages that (he) wants to keep playing at a high level. I think for him to be able to perform like he has, there's definitely a part of Dirk that's like, 'see, I told you so.' We did a commercial two years ago that, I think, went, 'So you think I'm done?' And he's still exceeding expectations and proving to people that he can still play. That's who Dirk is. As long as he thinks he can put it in your face and give you a little look and tap his arms a little running down the court, he's going to keep playing."
"It's a crazy statement, but you've got to respect Kareem. Whatever. Kareem played with how many Hall of Famers? Dirk's played with Steve Nash for a couple of years and J-Kidd for a couple of years. That's it. Kareem had five All-Stars at a time. Dirk had Nash and Finley early in his career, and since then, we haven't had multiple All-Stars around. We had J-Kidd and that was it. To say, 'You know what, let me give you this starting lineup -- Tyson Chandler, Jason Kidd, DeShawn Stevenson and Shawn Marion' -- who could take that and win a championship? It's not like Dirk didn't put our team on his back and do everything needed. And it's not like Dirk has had 25 rebound games. He's far from a one-trick pony and he knows how to play. Dirk has had triple doubles. That's just not what he looks for. So, you know, I'm not going to disrespect Kareem at all, but anyone who knows the game and has watched Dirk knows differently."
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Mark Cuban returned for a second segment with The Musers, where he talked about his usual crazy business endeavors and politics, particularly Donald Trump. If you really want to read his thoughts about Trump, the Dallas Morning News has it transcribed here. As for us, we're going to stick to basketball.