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Saturday, April 30, 2011
Mark Cuban 'glad' for Grizzlies owner

By Tim MacMahon

Mark Cuban got some satisfaction from seeing the Grizzlies finish off the top-seeded Spurs.

Just not for the reasons you might think. Cuban’s reaction to the Game 6 clincher in Memphis wasn’t to take a shot at the rival Spurs, who joined the 2007 Mavs as the lone No. 1 seeds to lose a best-of-7 series in the first round.

Instead, Cuban offered praise for much maligned Memphis owner Michael Heisley, whose franchise had never won a playoff game -- much less series -- before this postseason.

“I’m glad for Michael Heisley,” Cuban wrote in a reply to an email asking for his thoughts on the series. “He is the most underappreciated owner in the NBA.”

One place Heisley will always be appreciated is Los Angeles. The Grizzlies cost-cutting deal that sent Pau Gasol to the Lakers made L.A.’s back-to-back titles possible.

In hindsight, however, the trade wasn’t a bad move for Memphis.

Marc Gasol, Pau’s younger brother who went to the Grizzlies in the deal, has blossomed into one of the West’s best big men. The deal also cleared cap space the Grizzlies eventually used to acquire Zach Randolph, a 20-point, 12-rebound producer who was absolutely dominant in the series finale.