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Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Buzz: Mark Cuban leaves no question who has final say for Mavs

By Tim MacMahon

DALLAS -- Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who bid against the current Texas Rangers ownership group when that franchise went to bankruptcy auction in 2010, claimed not to know much about the controversy regarding Nolan Ryan’s reduced power and potential departure.

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Cuban has been through that kind of situation before. He went through a bitter divorce with former coach/general manager Don Nelson, who was none too happy when Cuban took away final say on personnel decisions.

But Cuban vows there will never again be any confusion about who is the ultimate decision-maker on the Mavs’ personnel moves.

“Me, because I have to write the check,” Cuban said during his pregame workout Wednesday evening. “So it’s my ultimate judgment, not so much on which guy, but does he fit economically into the big picture?”

That doesn’t mean Cuban ignores the input of president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson, coach Rick Carlisle and the Mavs’ other basketball minds. He values that very much, but these decisions ultimately come down to dollars, especially under the new collective bargaining agreement.

While Cuban doesn’t trust his eye for talent, he is confident in his ability to make decisions based on financial fit and the opinions of his basketball people.

“First of all, I never use my eye test, because I’m blind when it comes to that, so it goes by what Donnie and all our guys say,” Cuban said. “I just give my input, we discuss and we make a decision.”

By “we,” Cuban means he makes the decision, with a lot of help from his basketball people.

It wasn’t always that way. "Big Nellie" used to have free rein, but Cuban reconsidered that approach a few years into their relationship, stripping the coach of the ability to agree to player contracts and pull the trigger on trades without the owner’s permission.

“That’s when the head-butting started,” Cuban said, pinpointing the turning point as the rich contract given to blockbuster-trade bust Raef LaFrentz.