Saturday, July 12, 2014
Cuban talks LeBron, free-agent options
By Bryan Gutierrez Special to ESPNDallas.com
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.
LeBron 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.
The situation regarding Houston remains in doubt even as the Rockets signed small forward Trevor Ariza to a four-year, $32 million contract earlier Saturday afternoon. The Rockets would be able to retain Parsons, even with the signing of Ariza.
If things don't go the Mavs' way, Cuban said he wanted to make sure that other teams know that Dallas would still be a player in free agency.
"We'll just put together the best team we possibly can," Cuban said. "We didn't know from the beginning if they would match. It's a three-day process, it's not like it's three years. Teams recognize that there's going to be a spender. If they match, we've got money to spend."
Ripple effect With some of Dallas' money tied up in the Parsons offer sheet, the Mavs found out that Vince Carter would sign a three-year, $12.2 million deal with the Memphis Grizzlies. ESPN.com’s Marc Stein reported the information late Friday night.
A source told ESPNDallas.com's Tim MacMahon that Carter informed the Mavs he would return to Dallas for a two-year deal worth $8 million, but the Mavs could offer that much only if the Rockets exercised their right to match the offer to Parsons.
"Obviously what we could offer changed," Cuban said. "We wanted to sign him, he chose otherwise. We move on. It wasn't good [losing Carter], but that's the way it goes. He wasn't going to play forever, so it was just a question of when, not if."
Whether Dallas lands Parsons or not, the Mavs will still need to address their perimeter shooting situation.
A secondary option Indiana Pacers shooting guard Lance Stephenson popped back up on the Mavs' radar over the weekend. Stephenson is somewhere on the top tier of free agents for the Mavs, along with lone remaining unrestricted free agent small forward Luol Deng, a source told ESPNDallas.com.
"We're exploring a lot of options, a lot of different people," Cuban said. "Hopefully the Rockets won't match and we'll have Chandler and that changes what we're able to do, but Lance is certainly on the list."
While Stephenson played primarily shooting guard in Indiana, the idea is that he would start at small forward in Dallas if things don't work out with either Parsons or Deng. Cuban said that there could be additional options in the mix.
"It wouldn't be a single player," Cuban said. "Let me put it that way. It would have to be multiple players."