Last week the Mavericks universe flipped upside down then folded into itself before climbing the high-dive and leaping into the offseason. With a laundry list of questions, few answers, and plenty of possibility it’s okay to simply take this week and get your bearings.
After President of Basketball Operations Donnie Nelson was fired, and head coach Rick Carlisle stepped down, reports surfaced that team owner Mark Cuban was assembling a team of familiar advisors to walk through the process of first hiring a new general manager and then a head coach.
But even with Cuban’s great cloud of witnesses surrounding him, it’s never been clearer how deep into the thick of the day to day basketball operations the owner currently is, and wants to remain. It can be hard to see that and not feel a familiarity. This is the most important stretch in Cuban’s tenure, so before we get there I thought it might be best to prepare ourselves for what could be on the horizon.
Who better to ask than RJ Ochoa, Editor-in-Chief at Blogging the Boys. So with the help of our resident Cowboys Martyr Clint Carroll we reached out to learn how to prepare for a * CLEARS THROAT * active and hands-on owner.
JB: The Mavericks are in the midst of the most front office turmoil they’ve faced in over two decades. Without pointing too many fingers or naming any names one rather public figure finds themselves at the center of all this decision making. And it’s starting to sound a bit like another rather public sports owner down the street. His name rhymes with Berry Bones.
RJ, can you briefly tell us what signs we should be looking for, as Mark Cuban rebuilds the front office, that he won’t in fact just hire himself to be his own GM and make all decisions moving forward?
RJ: Well I am quite sorry to see the shape that the Mavericks are in! It is never fun to feel like your favorite sports team rests at the decision-making of one singular person, whoever that is, and you are right that the Dallas Cowboys have felt that way with Jerry Jones before.
While Jerry has a bit of a reputation for being totally hands on, truth be told he has actually sort of relinquished some control over the last decade or so (being a bit generous here). As far as signs though I would say that the more the person in question speaks publicly, the worse off it tends to be. During the Cowboys season Jerry appears regularly twice a week on local radio and generally is the first and only person to comment on things when turmoil is surrounding the club.
JB: Cuban has already sorted out being generally “rich-famous”, but to my knowledge he still doesn’t travel from the office to the arena in a helicopter or “dance” for fast-service pizza. Are there other PR moves we should anticipate from the head of the Mavericks, and how should MFFLs handle such public displays of dancing?
RJ: Jerry’s helicopter is definitely ostentatious, but it is also super cool to watch if I am being totally honest. Jerry plays a great PR game and has a lot of control over that. Something that really put a lot of wind in his sails in recent memory didn’t even have to do with the Cowboys, it was when the NFL moved the Rams back to Los Angeles. He was given a ton of credit for that and it actually served as the final piece of sorts for putting him in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. I’d be weary of any “good for the game” moves from Mark in the near future.
JB: The Cowboys seemingly stumbled into both Tony Romo and Dak Prescott, and the Mavericks nearly did the same with draft night trades for Dirk Nowitzki and Luka Doncic. What lessons have Cowboys fans learned from Romo’s departure and Dak’s contract extension about how their organization handles their stars?
RJ: Honestly, and this is tough to say, not much. You would have thought the Cowboys would have been extremely forward-thinking with Dak given how much they were not with Romo, but that hasn’t been the case.
Ultimately everyone should be happy that Dak got paid, but it came at a severe cost to the organization. By showing an unbelievable inability to forecast the market the Cowboys managed to pay significantly more than they ultimately had to for their quarterback. So far it sort of feels the same with Dak as it did with Tony. Sorry!
JB: Cuban and Jones both like to be in front of the mic. But I’m not sure I’ve heard Cuban describe anything in the vicinity of “circumcising a mosquito”. Does that come with achieving the next level of Owner-GM-Decider of Everything?
RJ: I’d say that it definitely does, haha. Jerry’s isms were really cool at first but now it definitely feels like he’s trying to make them happen as opposed to them being an organic thing of sorts.
JB: Lastly, as a fan. What can MFFLs learn from Cowboys fans when it comes to loving a team so much while watching team ownership do nearly everything they can to make it so difficult?
RJ: While I recognize that a lot of people are I am not someone who roots for both the Cowboys and Mavericks. I can’t imagine that this leads to many peaceful nights. For what it’s worth while it has been a decade since the Mavs tasted ultimate glory consider that at the time of their title that the Cowboys were already 16 years removed from winning one themselves. My piece of “advice” here would be to consider yourselves just a teeny bit lucky as it can be a lot worse even in the same market as the Mavericks are in.