Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban talked to reporters Wednesday night, where he dove into a number of conversations including the evergreen discussion on Jalen Brunson. In doing so, Cuban revealed that the contract discussions soured “when the parents got involved”. He also stated that Dallas never had an opportunity to sign Brunson to a four-year extension in January and that his camp demanded $18-23 million around the trade deadline last spring if Dallas wanted to keep him. In the same vein, he admitted Dallas’ regression this year was on him and that he “blew it”, citing the game changing in “ways [he] didn’t expect it to change”.
When you make a mistake, there is a certain anxiety that comes with knowing people will always assume the worst. Most decisions are complex, but it is far easier for everyone on the outside to simply assign fault to one person or event to create peace within themselves. Cuban has experienced this many times, as he has been a public figure for nearly 30 years with countless decisions that have had the public eye. Instead of realizing that people have to assign blame to a singular entity, he has given in to this anxiety far too many times and made it a point to speak his truth about numerous mishaps. This has often led to over speaking, as is the case here.
Firstly, blaming someone else for the biggest mistake of your career is lame. Respect is earned through accountability and consistency, both of which Cuban seems to be running low on. Secondly, if what he said was true, that Brunson’s parents pulled him out of Dallas and that there was no deal to be made, then why even bring it up? It is an attempt to reconcile with the fanbase by shifting the blame when in reality it is only widening the gap between what the fanbase wants and what Cuban thinks they want. He is trying to show his work to get partial credit on a multiple-choice test question that he got wrong. Don’t explain yourself, just get the next question correct.
To his credit, he took accountability for poorly constructing the team. The only problem is that he admitted that he has a role in said team construction. What does Nico Harrison do then? Why have employees if the boss is going to take credit for the work? Can you name the owner of the Boston Celtics off the top of your head. If you were to ask me to name the San Antonio Spurs owner right now or I would be exiled to Bullock Island, I would be halfway across the sea before you finished the question. Owners are not supposed to be this involved in basketball decisions and certainly not this outspoken about it. It’s simple math, the more you say the more likely it is that you will say something dumb. Cuban exemplifies this, and it is why Dallas has not been successful in the way it should have the last 10 or more years. Things you say stick with you and Cuban’s comments have some part in free agents’ decisions to come here whether it is ever publicly admitted or not. Until Cuban shuts his mouth, hires the right people, and lets everyone do their job without looking over their shoulders, the Mavericks will be consistently underwhelming.