Give Cuban credit for opening wallet again

June, 25, 2010
6/25/10
3:48
PM CT
Long after Thursday night's draft ended and the Dallas Mavericks front office staff had vacated the American Airlines Center, team owner Mark Cuban walked into the Old No. 7 Club, which served as a make-shift media room for reporters.

Two scribes remained when Cuban walked in well after midnight. Wearing a blue, long-sleeve Mavs jersey and looking as if he had just finished up a pick-up game, Cuban smiled and acknowledged that the night, considering it started with the club holding only a mostly useless No. 50 pick, had gone pretty darn well.

While many NBA owners are tightening their belts -- and Cuban surely could make that same decision -- the billionaire pulled another $3 milllion out of his wallet, $3 million more to add to the outrageously expensive Jason Kidd trade tab that has yet to come close to paying off.

How wisely Cuban spends his money can be debated at times, but the effort can't be faulted.

The Mavs, with the oldest roster in the league, desperately need young talent. So Cuban pulled out more green and purchased the 25th overall pick belonging to Memphis to get into the first round and nab a 21-year-old slasher out of South Florida, Dominique Jones.

"We have an older team as everyone knows," coach Rick Carlisle said. "This is one of the advantages of being in Dallas and having Mark Cuban as your owner because in years when you don't have first-round picks, you have the resources and wherewithal to get into the first round to get younger, to get some assets for the future. We obviously feel [Jones] is a guy that can help us some next year."

The New Jersey Nets owned the Mavs' first-round pick -- the 27th -- just as they did in 2008 as part of the Kidd trade. Like the Jones pick or not, Cuban deserves credit for plunking down more cash in the name of trying to get better. Phoenix Suns fans would appreciate that quality in an owner right about now.

So, the Mavs walked away from Thursday's draft with a pick two spots higher than they would have selected if they had their original pick -- at the bargain-basement price of $1.5 million a spot. They didn't give up a future first-round pick that would have all but eliminated them from a big sign-and-trade deal this summer and they didn't have to take on additional salary to get the pick.

It just took Cuban shelling out another 3 million bucks. Vice president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson told the "Ben & Skin Show" on ESPN 103.3 FM that Cuban's relationship with Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley sealed the deal. Memphis had other $3 million offers to consider.

"The MVP of this draft is our owner," Nelson said. "Mark stepped up big."

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Dirk Nowitzki
PTS AST STL MIN
21.7 2.7 0.9 32.9
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsS. Dalembert 6.8
AssistsM. Ellis 5.7
StealsM. Ellis 1.7
BlocksS. Dalembert 1.2