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Mark Cuban says ESPN is ‘dead wrong,’ Luka Doncic has not asked for changes to roster

Denial is a step in the stages of grief

NBA: Dallas Mavericks at Los Angeles Lakers Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has responded strongly to the report on Wednesday that Luka Doncic has pushed for upgrades before the NBA Trade Deadline. He reached out to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon, the writer of the original story, to deny the report fully and MacMahon passed along Cuban’s comments on Twitter.

“Tim MacMahon got it dead wrong,” Cuban said. “Luka has never suggested, asked, demanded or discussed changes to the roster.” In a follow up tweet, MacMahon shared the rest of the message, “Luka and Nico have a great relationship. They talk almost daily. Luka knows exactly what we have going on and is very supportive.”

Cuban has a history of denying things that later are either reported as true or actually happen. The entire Mavericks organization, including Cuban, vehemently denied the initial Kristaps Porzingis trade rumors in February of 2021. Going further back, Cuban called the report from the Athletic’s Tim Cato about the front office turmoil “bullshit”, only to then make sweeping changes. Cuban’s various denials over the years nearly make this one a confirmation of the initial report’s accuracy.

As with the Deep Ellum Mural story, Cuban’s involvement only serves to make the story bigger than it needed to be. A star NBA player pushing for changes, even on background, is something media is obligated to cover. This sort of thing is normal in the modern NBA, even if we’re not used to it here in Dallas just yet.

I tend to believe Cuban that Luka has not directly asked for anything to happen. That’s what Doncic has a team for. Look again to the recent example of the mural. In follow up stories where the artist said he painted over it at the request of Doncic and will collaborate with him in the future, the post says, “according to Preston Pannek, a representative of Doncic’s reached out and asked him to consider replacing the mural.”

Luka Doncic isn’t bursting into the front office demanding action like J. Jonah Jameson bursting into the newsroom demanding more pictures of Spiderman. He probably told his agent at some point that perhaps the Mavericks need more help. Because the Mavericks do need more help.

This is all a bit exhausting, to be honest. How do LeBron James and Los Angeles Lakers fans do this all the time? The best path forward is to find something that makes an attempt to change the roster while not emptying out the asset bank the Mavericks have. It’s not easy, but anything worth doing is worth doing right. Good luck to Nico Harrison and Mark Cuban.