Dallas Mavericks: Mark Cuban

Jason Kidd on 2011-12: 'You just wonder'

December, 7, 2014
Dec 7
12:00
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DALLAS -- Milwaukee Bucks coach Jason Kidd can’t help but have his mind wander a bit as he prepares to play the Dallas Mavericks.

Kidd sees big man Tyson Chandler back in a Mavs uniform, performing as a perfect complement to Dirk Nowitzki again. He sees guard J.J. Barea thriving as a change-of-pace pest off the Mavs’ bench again.

“You just wonder with the shortened season if we’d have brought them back,” said Kidd, whose team faces the Mavs for the second time this week Sunday. “But I think it’s great. Tyson was very comfortable when he was in Dallas the first time and you can see he’s very comfortable now. J.J. looks like he hasn’t lost a step.”

Kidd, the floor general of Dallas’ 2011 title team, is of course referring to Mavs owner Mark Cuban’s controversial decision not to keep that championship roster intact after the lockout, letting Chandler and Barea leave in free agency instead of making long-term offers to them.

We all know how that worked out for the Mavs. They failed to sign a “big fish” in free agency and are still searching for their first playoff series win since celebrating in Miami.

Without Chandler and Barea, the Mavs had to fight to make the playoffs in the lockout-shortened season, finishing the regular season with a 36-30 record and the No. 7 seed. The Oklahoma City Thunder, who were dismissed by Dallas in five games in the 2011 West finals, swept the Mavs in the first round of the playoffs.

Could the Mavs have repeated with their full championship roster? Kidd, whose relationship with Cuban has been patched up over the last couple of years, doesn't want to go too far down that road.

“It’s great coffee talk,” said Kidd, who angered Cuban when he reneged on his verbal commitment to re-sign with the Mavs in the summer of 2012 and instead joined Chandler with the New York Knicks. “Grab your Starbucks and talk about it over coffee. What if, because it was a shortened season?

“But Cuban had a plan, always thinking ahead and he had his reasons. He’s the owner, so he gets to do what he wants.”

Other core players from that title team, such as Shawn Marion and Jason Terry, have also acknowledged that they’ll always have a what-if in their mind. That isn't necessarily the case for the face of the franchise, however.

“I still don’t think we would have been in position to repeat,” Dirk Nowitzki said. “That was a lot of games, I was struggling. That’s when my knee started to act up and I missed some games. Training camp for some of our old guys was just too short. We only had a week or 10 days, two or three preseason games. I don’t know if we’d have had it.

“And there was a stretch of six games in eight days and I don’t think that would have set us up perfectly for a deep playoff run, but who knows? If you look at our playoffs, we probably should have stole both games that year in OKC and ended up getting swept. So you never know. A play here or there obviously can change a lot. But we made a business decision not to sign those guys and let ‘em go and we rolled ever since and had to deal with the decision we made then.”

Kidd certainly has no bitterness about his second stint with the Mavs. It got off to a rocky start – remember that the blockbuster deal with the Nets was widely considered a bust for the Mavs until Kidd played a critical role in delivering a title to Dallas – but will be forever remembered as a great success.

Kidd, an early Coach of the Year candidate because of the young Bucks’ impressive turnaround in his first season in Milwaukee, roots for the Mavs in all but two games each year. He sees the sustained success the Mavs have had during Nowitzki’s career as a model for Milwaukee to attempt to emulate and gives Cuban a lot of credit.

“It starts with Cuban,” Kidd said. “When he has a plan, he sticks to that plan. Sometimes he might be right. Sometimes it might be wrong. But he’s not afraid to admit when he’s wrong and he’s not afraid to admit when he’s right.”

Cuban talks LeBron, free-agent options

July, 12, 2014
Jul 12
7:48
PM CT
LAS VEGAS -- LeBron James' decision to go back home to the Cleveland Cavaliers sent shock waves around the league. The city of Cleveland is certainly happy. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said he thought James' decision was a positive one.

"I think it's great for the league," Cuban said as he was watching the Mavs' summer league team play. "As someone who grew up in Pittsburgh, it's great to see the old-school cities like Pittsburgh and Cleveland, we're usually the brunt of the jokes and people talk about leaving.

[+] EnlargeLeBron James
Jerome Miron/USA TODAY SportsLeBron James' decision to return home to Cleveland resonated with Mavs owner Mark Cuban, who is from Pittsburgh.
"It's always good when I go back to Pittsburgh and it's just that type city. It's a Pittsburgh city and Cleveland is very similar. It's great for the area and the city."

James took a massive public-relations hit in 2010 for his one-hour televised special announcing he would join the Miami Heat. Cuban says he believes that time has done wonders for James and his approach to his latest decision.

"It's obvious that LeBron has grown up quite a bit since 'The Decision,'" Cuban said. "How he handled it, his words, his approach were night and day. I think he deserves a lot of respect."

Here are other highlights from Cuban's chat:

Still in doubt
The clock continues to tick as the Houston Rockets have to decide if they're going to match the Mavs' offer for restricted free agent Chandler Parsons. The Rockets have until 10:59 p.m. CT Sunday to decide whether to exercise their right to match the three-year, $46 million offer sheet Parsons signed with the Mavs.

"No," Cuban replied when asked if he had any inkling what Houston would do. "It's just a waiting game. I know what I would do. I don't expect them to do anything different."

Cuban wouldn't divulge what he would do in the situation.

(Read full post)

Cuban: Spurs' loss reminds of '11 Rangers

June, 19, 2013
6/19/13
12:36
AM CT
The gut-kicking nature of the Spurs’ come-from-ahead overtime loss in Game 6 of the NBA Finals reminded Mark Cuban of one of the most miserable moments in Metroplex sports history.

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The Spurs had a championship in their hands, but melted down late in Game 6. Fitzsimmons & Durrett flash back to one of the most gut-wrenching moments in DFW sports history, Game 6 of the 2011 World Series, and compare it to San Antonio's meltdown.

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“Hate to say this, but this game felt like the Rangers in the World Series,” Cuban tweeted after the Heat’s home rally from 13 down to even the series, including a five-point comeback in the final minute of regulation.

As far as historic Game 6 meltdowns go, the Spurs’ crunch-time crumbling certainly conjured memories of the Rangers’ blowing leads when twice being a strike away from finishing off the St. Louis Cardinals for the franchise’s first title two years ago. The image of Nelson Cruz’s right-field adventure at Busch Stadium that resulted in a David Freese triple will forever be burned into the minds of Rangers fans.

At least the Spurs have four NBA championships to fall back on if they can’t claim Game 7 in Miami.

Of course, the Spurs’ loss could also cause flashbacks of the Mavs’ Miami meltdown in the 2006 Finals, when Cuban’s squad left Dallas with a 2-0 series lead before letting a 13-point lead slip away in Game 3, the first of four straight, controversy-packed, free-throw-filled losses.

The Mavs got their revenge by beating the Heat in 2011, months before the Rangers came one play away in St. Louis.
The Mavericks’ backup plan if they miss out on a big fish apparently doesn’t recruit chasing restricted free agents.

At least, that’s what Mark Cuban indicated during his radio appearance Monday afternoon.

“I don’t know if there are any free agents that are requiring offer sheets that are on our radar right now,” Cuban said, pointing to the process of waiting for the player’s previous team to exercise its right to match as the reason.

The most intriguing restricted free agents: Minnesota center Nikola Pekovic, Milwaukee point guard Brandon Jennings and Sacramento combo guard Tyreke Evans. Hold off on custom orders for any of those guys in Mavs jerseys, no matter how well the burly Pekovic's low-post game might mesh with Dirk Nowitzki's shooting skills.

Of course, the Mavs radar can change at a moment’s notice once the free agency frenzy gets going.

Lakers respond to Cuban's amnesty remark

February, 22, 2013
2/22/13
9:13
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LOS ANGELES Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban on Friday suggested the Los Angeles Lakers should amnesty Kobe Bryant in the offseason.

The Lakers heard Cuban's advice and didn't appreciate it.

"We're aware of Mark Cuban's comments and feel they are inappropriate," Lakers spokesman John Black said in a statement. "As to the issue itself, we will not comment publicly on the amnesty issue as it relates to any of our players."

For the full story, click this link.

Dirk Nowitzki questions Mavs

January, 6, 2013
1/06/13
7:46
PM CT
PODCAST
Marc Stein of ESPN.com joins Ben and Skin to talk about Dirk Nowitzki's current mindset.

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DALLAS -- With the Dallas Mavericks' 12-season playoff streak in serious jeopardy, star forward Dirk Nowitzki expressed strong doubt about the front office's plan for the franchise's future, even wondering whether it'd be in the Mavs' best interests to trade him.

Nowitzki, who was admittedly disappointed and frustrated after the Mavs dropped to eight games below .500 with their eighth loss in nine games Saturday night, told ESPNDallas.com that owner Mark Cuban's post-lockout decision to let Tyson Chandler and other key members of the 2011 title team leave could be judged as "a mistake or not" after seeing whether the Mavs are able to make any major personnel moves this summer.

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Should the Mavs consider trading Dirk Nowitzki under any circumstances?

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The plan was to acquire a legitimate superstar in his prime -- or possibly even two -- to lighten the 34-year-old Nowitzki's load in the latter stage of his surefire Hall of Fame career. But Chris Paul and Dwight Howard did not hit the free agency market last summer as anticipated when Dallas decided to create significant salary cap space for the first time in Cuban's 13-year ownership tenure -- they both can be free agents this summer -- and the Mavs' recruiting efforts failed to land Deron Williams.

"It's going to be tough now," Nowitzki said after the Mavs' home overtime loss to the Western Conference cellar-dwelling New Orleans Hornets. "I always liked to think you don't want to build your franchise on hope.

Read more about Dirk's thoughts on the Mavs' plan.
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban announced via Twitter that he intends to donate $1 million to help victims of Hurricane Sandy.

O.J. Mayo amazed by Dirk Nowitzki's work ethic

September, 13, 2012
9/13/12
9:00
AM CT
DALLAS – After arriving in Dallas a month ago to work on his game, O.J. Mayo was stunned to see a certain 7-foot German dude sweating on the American Airlines Center practice court.

Rest assured that there won’t be a repeat of a rusty, out-of-shape Dirk Nowitzki showing up at training camp.

“He was in here working out and staying in shape,” Mayo said. “It was a crazy, crazy thing to see because he’s a franchise player and he was here early like it’s his first or second year. I think that’s enough said there.”

Nowitzki’s offseason regimen was a wreck last summer and fall, when he celebrated finally winning an NBA title, unsuccessfully tried to help the German national team qualify for the Olympics again and rested in anticipation of a long lockout. Nowitzki wasn’t ready when the lockout ended and admittedly was poorly prepared for a quickie camp and compressed schedule.

The results: Nowitzki had his worst statistical year since his second season, averaging 21.6 points and 6.8 rebounds while shooting 45.7 percent from the floor. He needed a week-plus personal minicamp early in the season to return to something resembling Nowitzki’s norm.

Nowitzki turned 34 over the summer, but the Mavs firmly believe he has a lot of elite basketball left in him. His work this summer confirmed that a hunger still burns in Nowitzki’s belly, perhaps refreshed after last season’s struggles.

“I just think Dirk’s going to come back stronger, ready to play, ready to prove something,” owner Mark Cuban said.
Mark Cuban is well aware of the water-cooler conversation: Do the Mavericks owe it to Dirk Nowitzki to trade him if the franchise goes into full-fledged rebuilding mode?

PODCAST
Mavs owner Mark Cuban on why he feels the team is better without Deron Williams, why Jason Kidd's jersey will never hang in the rafters and more.

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"I'm not going to trade him," Cuban said Tuesday on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM's Ben and Skin Show.

Of course, Cuban wouldn't want to deal Dirk. And the Mavs couldn't pull the trigger on a trade involving Nowitzki without his permission anyway, considering that his contract includes one of the two no-trade clauses in the NBA.

But what if Nowitzki requested to be moved to a contender for the twilight of his prime?

"Maybe I’d have the conversation," Cuban said. "But I know Dirk; he wouldn’t."


Mark Cuban is so bitter about Jason Kidd’s departure from Dallas that the Mavericks’ owner says there is “no chance” of ever raising the point guard’s No. 2 to the American Airlines Center rafter.

PODCAST
Mavs owner Mark Cuban on why he feels the team is better without Deron Williams, why Jason Kidd's jersey will never hang in the rafters and more.

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That was Cuban’s initial comment about Kidd during his hour-plus-long appearance Tuesday on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM. Cuban quickly left himself a little wiggle room, but he’s clearly perturbed about Kidd signing with the New York Knicks after committing to return to the Mavs.

“I was more than upset,” Cuban said. “I thought he was coming. I was pissed. …

“J. Kidd is a big boy; he can do whatever he wants. But you don’t change your mind like that. That was … yeah. I’m sure I’ll get over it at some point, but as of now, I wouldn’t put J. Kidd’s number in the rafters.”

Kidd, whose second stint in Dallas was highlighted by him playing a key role in the franchise’s only NBA championship, agreed to sign a three-year, $9.5 million deal to stay with the Mavs, informing Cuban of his plans the morning of July 5. Those plans changed that afternoon.

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Should the Mavericks retire Jason Kidd's number?

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Kidd called Cuban, but Cuban did not take the call because he was in a Washington, D.C. museum with his family. Cuban learned later that Kidd had changed his mind and agreed to go to the Knicks for the same money.

Cuban admitted that Kidd’s decision “hurt my feelings” because he thought they had developed a strong relationship and that the 39-year-old point guard was committed to the organization.

“He’s a good guy, but I just thought that was wrong,” Cuban said. “You can’t put a guy’s number in the rafters when he decides he doesn’t want to be there.”

On the other hand, Cuban said he would consider retiring the No. 31 worn by Jason Terry, who signed with the Boston Celtics this summer after the Mavs declined to match a three-year, midlevel-exception offer. Cuban praised Terry for being “honest” and “straightforward” throughout the free agency period.

“Putting somebody up in the rafters, that’s something sacred in my mind,” Cuban said. “You don’t just do it just to do it, to have a big ceremony, to sell tickets. You haven’t seen me decide yet. I go back and forth on Derek Harper all the time, but Harp will be up there before J. Kidd will.

“I’ve always said my prerequisite was that you played on a championship team for the Mavs. I’d say Jet’s got a shot, Dirk’s an obvious, but as of right now I wouldn’t put J. Kidd up there.”

It's possible, perhaps even probable, that the Mavs could issue Kidd's No. 2 this season. Darren Collison, the point guard the Mavs acquired to replace Kidd, wore No. 2 for the Hornets and Pacers.
The Dallas Mavericks wanted to keep Jason Kidd -- and considered it all but a done deal -- but owner Mark Cuban can see the silver lining in the gray-haired point guard getting away.

Darren Collison will never be confused with being one of the all-time great distributors, but he’s at least a point guard capable of attacking off the dribble.

“You can’t replace Jason Kidd,” Cuban said while appearing on NBA TV during the Mavs’ summer league game Friday night. “There’s just no way. But at the same time, there’s going to be a lot of things we couldn’t do. You know, J could take over a game defensively and he could help us get where we needed to go, but he was just a spot-up shooter. Now, we’ve got a lot of people who are going to force people to really defend us.”

Sound like spin control? Sure, but there’s truth to it.

Kidd’s allergic reactions to layups became a source of comic relief. At his advanced age, he doesn’t break down defenders off the dribble often, and when he does he certainly isn’t eager to finish in traffic. According to Hoopdata.com, Kidd attempted only 10 shots at the rim all of last season. By comparison, Collison averaged 2.6 attempts at the rim per game.

The Mavs have failed so far to acquire a co-star to help Dirk Nowitzki carry the scoring load. The hope is that adding scoring threats at point guard and center (Chris Kaman and Elton Brand) can ease the burden on Nowitzki during this dry-powder season.

“That takes a lot of pressure off of Dirk,” Cuban said. “Last year, you didn’t really have to defend our 5 position. You didn’t have to defend our point guard position. Now you’re going to have to defend all five, and that’s going to make life a little bit easier.”

Some other noteworthy comments from Cuban:

On the Mavs’ offseason activity: “We knew with the CBA that there was going to be a little bit of a rush early on, but then there were going to be a lot of really good players falling through the cracks. When there were, we were ready to pounce. And we think we put together a really nice team.”

On the remodeled roster: “We think we’ve positioned ourselves so that we have a young nucleus. We can keep these guys, let them jell and play together, build around Dirk and have room for hopefully someone to come or to trade or whatever happens.”

On O.J. Mayo: “He can play. He knows how to impact a game. We were looking at players and one of the things Michael Finley, who’s now kind of an assistant assistant general manager, said, you want to get somebody that the other team has got to game plan for, that the other team is afraid of at the end of the game, that they can make something happen. We didn’t really have someone who could really just create off the dribble, who we could just give the ball. Jet was a great shooter, Jet did a lot of amazing things, but we needed somebody who could get a lot younger and do a lot of the same things and then some.”

On Elton Brand: “We do a lot of advanced statistics, analytics, and Elton Brand was one of the top 10 defenders in the league in the low post. Overall, from an advanced plus-minus basis, one of the top 10 players in the league. Using that, we think we can really integrate him.”

On Chris Kaman: “Chris, once he got traded, it was an up-and-down season for him. So if you take out last year and go to the season before, there’s no question he’s going to help us. He’s a great shooter from the 10- to 15-foot range. He’ll be able to pick-and-pop and do a lot for us. You put him in a situation for Dirk, I think a lot can happen.”

On Dwight Howard trade rumors: “Every little bit of noise gets amplified. There’s just nothing there. What you’ve really got to ask yourself is, why would Orlando do something that’s not in the best interest of their team?”

Mavs' rally cry: Keep the powder dry

July, 10, 2012
7/10/12
9:34
AM CT
The Dallas Mavericks' front office has a pair of big-picture options, neither of which is particularly attractive in the immediate future.

They can move forward with the plan that has failed so far. Or they can panic.

They'll keep the bait ready for the big fish. After Deron Williams failed to bite, believing the future was brighter in Brooklyn than Dallas, that means the Mavs will maintain their financial flexibility while poking for bargains in the trade market and prepare to go back in the deep seas next summer.

"Keeping the powder dry is a term that you’re going to hear a lot with a lot of teams in the NBA since the landscape is drastically changing and the future of the league is really changing before our very eyes on a daily basis," Mavs president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson told us on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM Monday morning. "Our position is we want to be players when it comes to getting star-quality talent."

This isn't a difficult decision for the Dallas decision-makers, although "Keeping Powder Dry" isn't exactly a slogan fit for a marketing campaign. Mark Cuban and his basketball brain trust made their choice to chase superstars when they didn't offer Tyson Chandler a multi-year deal in December.

Nelson insists the Mavs have no regrets about choosing that path, even after whiffing on Williams and watching the majority of the title team's rotation leave Dallas. He's adamant that it takes superstars – plural – to win championships in this league.

The 2010-11 Mavs, a lone-star bunch featuring Dirk Nowitzki and a since-stripped-down supporting cast, were an exception to that rule. Folks in Dallas will debate for generations whether it was foolish to break up that aging squad instead of trying to conquer the multi-star super teams by keeping it intact.

The minority faction that supports the front office decisions won't have much ammo if all the Mavs just keep swinging and missing through next summer, when Chris Paul is expected to headline the free agency pool. (Of course, Paul and Dwight Howard – whose availability next summer depends on where the Magic deal him – were expected to be part of this year's free agency pool when the Mavs chose a fishing expedition over Chandler and Co.)

Frankly, it's hard to muster much optimism about the Mavs convincing Paul or Howard or James Harden or Andrew Bynum to come to Dallas to team with a 35-year-old Nowitzki next summer.

However, there's more hope in that happening than the Mavs piecing together a title contender with free agency scraps this summer. Therefore, it'd be a panic move for the Mavs to make multi-year commitments to anyone this summer after failing to hook Williams or Steve Nash.

The Mavs feared locking themselves into mediocrity with Chandler, Jason Terry, J.J. Barea, etc. They won't do it with Chris Kaman, Randy Foye, Ramon Sessions, etc.

"Mark has proven over the years that he's more than willing to spend to get a championship here," Nelson said. "It's just that spending smart and spending stupid are two different things."

The smart money says the Mavs' title window with Nowitzki has closed. But it'd be really dumb to make panic moves that forfeit the possibility to prove that theory wrong.


Can the Mavericks get a little credit for LeBron James’ failures in last season’s Finals now?

Maybe, just maybe, the Mavs had more to do with James’ pedestrian performances than the pressure of the moment.

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Ben & Skin have had enough of the fake Miami fans celebrating LeBron's first title.

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In hindsight, after LeBron followed up with a historic playoff run to his first championship, that certainly appears to be the case. And it’s foolish to think King James suddenly developed the mythical clutch gene or the mental toughness required of a playoff hero over the last year.

Never mind all the times he carried the Cavaliers to playoff wins. How about him dominating crunch time in the 2011 Eastern Conference finals against the Chicago Bulls? You think he suddenly got scared of the final five minutes of games in the Finals?

“That’s a complete insult to us,” Mavs owner Mark Cuban said during his Friday morning appearance on ESPN’s First Take.

Or do you think the Mavs’ coaching staff came up with a phenomenal plan and the Dallas players executed it excellently?

“It's amazing how nobody wants to give the Mavs credit for playing some amazing defense last year!!!” Shawn Marion tweeted after listening to some of the talk before last night’s Finals clincher. “We earn that ring!!!”

Reached Friday, Marion said he didn’t need to elaborate on the subject, adding only that his championship ring is really heavy.

Marion, perhaps the most underappreciated defender in the league, earned his ring in large part by giving LeBron precious little room to work. Same goes for DeShawn Stevenson, the defender LeBron saw most often after Marion.

As well as Marion and Stevenson played, they didn’t stop LeBron one-on-one. They thrived with the support of their on-a-string teammates with Tyson Chandler serving as the backbone in a complicated concept designed by Rick Carlisle, Dwane Casey, Monte Mathis and the rest of the Dallas coaching staff.

“Are we in a zone? What type of zone are we in? How are we matching up? What kind of rotations are we in?” Cuban said, describing the thought process James had to go through every time he touched the ball. “Making him think made them pass the ball around the perimeter, which gave us a chance to adjust.

“Now they’re smarter, they’re a better team. They deserved to win this year. But that’s the way we played it. So it wasn’t just LeBron. LeBron actually played it right more often than not. He made the right pass to the right guy, who didn’t make the right play. And that’s exactly what we wanted. We wanted to get the ball out of their hands and into the hands of somebody else.”

If you insist on just chalking James’ ’11 Finals failures up to him choking, feel free to continue ignoring the facts. Just don’t forget to call the Dallas team that defended him so well champions.

OKC raises bar for Mark Cuban and Co.

June, 5, 2012
6/05/12
9:37
AM CT

It might not have been politically correct for Donnie Nelson to say it in the wake of the Mavs’ winless postseason sprint, but he had a point.

The Mavericks weren’t going to beat this season’s Thunder no matter how many members of last season’s title team stayed in Dallas.

The Western Conference finals provide proof. The Spurs were the toast of the basketball world, having reeled off 20 wins in a row while putting on clinics in team basketball, before the Thunder’s young talent took over the series. Now, Kevin Durant and the rest of OKC’s kids are one win away from their first NBA Finals appearance – and it will be the first of many.

Therein lies the challenge for the Mavs’ front office. Building a team as good as last year’s champions won’t be good enough. They have to build a team that can compete with a Thunder squad that has developed championship chops since being schooled by the Mavs a year ago, yet still has so much room to grow.

That’s why, as bitter as the Mavs’ mediocrity this season might have been, letting Chandler and the other free agent champs walk wasn’t a colossal mistake by Mark Cuban and Nelson. The Thunder learned too much from the Mavs’ clutch clinic in last season’s West finals. The bar in the West has been raised.

The Mavs have to hit a couple of home runs for that to happen, starting with convincing Deron Williams to come home this summer. Honestly, it will probably take OKC slipping a little bit – a possibility if they can’t keep James Harden or Serge Ibaka after next season – for the door to be cracked for Dallas again.

The reality is that the championship parade in Dallas last summer was probably a one-and-done deal. There should be several over the next decade north of the Red River.

The good news: The Mavs made their title run just in time.

Mark Cuban's effect on the NBA

May, 13, 2012
5/13/12
11:13
AM CT


Jeremy Schaap examines the growing trend of NBA owners speaking out about on-court actions.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Monta Ellis
PTS AST STL MIN
20.7 4.6 1.7 34.1
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsT. Chandler 11.9
AssistsR. Rondo 8.8
StealsR. Rondo 1.8
BlocksT. Chandler 1.4