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Monday, January 16, 2012
Pregame buzz: Mark Cuban entertains the stars, and the media


LOS ANGELES -- Mark Cuban is a star among stars when the Dallas Mavericks come to Tinseltown. Cuban always draws a crowd, from celebrities to sports-writer hacks, when he hits the Staples Center floor during pre-game workouts.

During about a half-hour stint prior to Monday's first meeting between the Los Angeles Lakers and Cuban's reigning champion Mavs, the owner shook hands with the always eccentric Jimmy Goldstein, embraced Penny Marshall and then was somewhat ambushed by Kardashian matriarch Kris Jenner.

Mark Cuban
Mark Cuban chats with Kris Jenner before the Mavericks game against the Lakers.
Mrs. Jenner, mother to Khloe Kardashian, the wife of Mavs forward and former Lakers star Lamar Odom -- who hugged his mother-in-law in front of a semi-circle of cameras in the court-level concourse of the Staples Center (no word if she also hugged ex-son-in-law Kris Humphries, whose New Jersey Nets played in the matinee Monday against the Clippers) -- walked up to Cuban, flashed a smile and said she wanted to introduce herself. Check out an upcoming episode of  "Keeping up with the Kardashians," as the lights were on and the cameras were rolling -- not that Cuban seemed to mind all that much.

She wanted to thank Cuban for making Lamar feel at home and that when she comes to Dallas to visit the kids, dinner is on her.

After the hug to say hello, some chit-chat and a hug good-bye, Kris and the cameras flitted off to somewhere else.

The L.A. sports writers wanted to talk Dodgers ownership and he remains involved in the 0ngoing process of finding new and responsible ownership for one of the great baseball franchises, but he's sworn to silence as that sticky situation unfolds. If Cuban is serious about getting the team, he'll have to go through another auction. He was outbid by a group with Nolan Ryan and this time around he'd have to outbid a group led by Lakers icon Magic Johnson.

Cuban talked some salary cap in baseball and basketball as it relates to NBA's new collective bargaining agreement that reversed Cuban's management course and has him carving out salary cap space for the first time in his dozen years to make a run at, most notably, Deron Williams and Dwight Howard this summer.

You might have noticed that the double-dip of D-Will and D12 coming to Dallas as a pair next summer is becoming a hotter issue the longer the Orlando Magic don't trade their 6-foot-11 center.

To get both, Dallas will have to carve out more salary cap space than it will already have, which would mean basically trading everyone other than Dirk Nowitzki, then filling out the remainder of the roster with minimum or close-to-minimum type players.

Cuban can't talk about those guys unless he wants commissioner David Stern to dip into his wallet with a juicy tampering fine. But, Cuban acknowledged that he's not immune to all the buzz surrounding the two All-Stars and his Mavs.

"We'll look at all our options," the owner said.

Good thing Kris Jenner left by then, she would have been utterly bored.