Dallas Mavericks: Dan Gilbert
Carlisle, the current president of the NBA Coaches Association, joins Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers and Memphis Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins. Also on the committee are team owners Dan Gilbert (Cleveland Cavaliers) and Joe Lacob (Golden State Warriors) and general managers Bryan Colangelo (Toronto Raptors), Mitch Kupchak (Los Angeles Lakers), Kevin O’Connor (Utah Jazz) and Sam Presti (Oklahoma City Thunder).
Previously, the committee included the general manager from each of the 30 teams. That committee has been reconstituted as the new general managers committee. The league says it streamlined the competition committee because it wanted broader input on issues that could potentially improve the game.
One issue that could come up when the committee convenes for the first time during the NBA Finals is basket interference situations in the final two minutes of regulation and overtime. Mavs owner Mark Cuban requested that the league immediately make such instances eligible for replay review following a late-season loss at the Los Angeles Lakers in which Cuban and Carlisle believe Lakers forward Matt Barnes touched the ball in the cylinder but was not called for offensive goaltending.
The play counted as a 3-point basket for Pau Gasol and could have changed the course of the overtime finish.
"I don't even remember. I'm not a look-back guy," coach Rick Carlisle said. "I'm a what's-happening-right-now and what's-gonna-happen-in-the-next-five-minutes guy."
Mavs owner Mark Cuban felt it, but he always kept in mind that his superstar, Dirk Nowitzki, would soon return from a sprained knee.
"If we had been completely healthy it probably would have been a lot more miserable," Cuban said, reminding also that Caron Butler was lost for the season three games after Dirk went down. "But, you kind of had your get-out-of-jail-free card in the back of your mind."
Now, take those six consecutive losses, multiply it by four and you have the misery of Monday night's opponent, the Cleveland Cavaliers. Imagine that for a second.
"Oh, no no no," Cuban repeated. "No, no."
Yes. Cleveland -- jilted by LeBron James and his decision last summer to take his talents to sunny South Florida -- is in a dire mess under first-year coach Byron Scott. The Cavs come to Dallas having lost 24 consecutive games. Saturday's home loss to the Portland Trail Blazers set the record for consecutive losses in a single season. A loss to the Mavs would set a new low for most consecutive losses overall, which, remarkably, the Cavs set over the 1981-82 and 1982-83 seasons.
Meanwhile, the Mavs (34-15) are going for their ninth consecutive win, or one more than the total number of wins the Cavs have this season (8-43). Last season with King James, Cleveland won the Central Division by 15 games and the Eastern Conference by two games with an NBA-best record of 61-21.
That alone -- with apologies to Dirk and the fine season he is having -- should seal the MVP award for James.
Cleveland hasn't won a game since toppling the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden, 109-102, on Dec. 18. Their last win before that was Nov. 27. The Mavs handed the Cavs consecutive loss No. 7 in Cleveland, 104-95, on Jan. 2, the day after Butler suffered a season-ending knee injury and three games into Nowitzki's nine-game injury absence.
"I feel bad for [Cavs owner] Dan [Gilbert], absolutely," Cuban said. "But, it scares the heck out of me because we play them and we had the Wizards [last Monday when Washington entered 0-23 on the road], and that’s pressure. They’re not going to lose them all. They've got nothing to lose. They’re going to win somewhere down the line. You just hope it’s not us.
"But it sure makes me wish I was in the Eastern Conference."
Scoffing at media criticism of Gilbert for a highly personal attack against James that was posted on the Cavs' website soon after James' announcement, Cuban wrote in an email to ESPNDallas.com:
"I like what Dan did. He showed the emotion that comes with owning a team. He showed the fans that he is just getting started.
"Good for Dan."
Then again ...
Maybe support from the Mavericks' owner isn't so surprising when you recall what Cuban did in somewhat similar circumstances.
Back in the summer of 2004, when you think about it, Cuban basically was Gilbert. Steve Nash was not yet a two-time MVP, nor was anyone calling him King James, but he was beloved by Mavs fans and he crushed them with his free-agent departure to Phoenix on July 2.
Remember how Cuban responded to his point guard's emotional (and controversial) departure?
He took to his personal blog and at 3:52 the next morning, he posted a lengthy and extremely measured explanation of what had taken place. It wasn't a flame-throwing letter with the intent of demonizing Nash ... but it was an open letter of sorts.
The blog post, titled, "Steve Nash, Part I," started like this:
“How could you let Steve Nash go?” It's a question I'm going to hear for a long time. It’s a question Mavs fans deserve an answer to. As best I can, I will try to go through all the logical, illogical, emotional and financial scenarios that we explored in putting together the offer that we thought would keep Steve a Dallas Maverick for the rest of his career."
Cuban then meticulously covered every step, from the very beginning of Cuban's ownership when Nash was often on the club's trade proposals, to their friendship to Nash's health to team finances to, well, everything.
Cuban ended his blog like this:
"I feel better having written all of this, knowing that although Mavs and Nashie fans might not like the result, might not agree with my approach, might think I'm an idiot, but hopefully will know that I know this was an important decision that impacted all of us, and I thought each and every one of deserved to know what went on."
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban empathizes with his obviously frustrated fellow owner and he applauded Gilbert's emotional letter to the team's fans.
"Good for Dan for standing up for his fans and his team," Cuban wrote in an email. "The whole process left the Cavs in a difficult position. Free agency had run its course and the Cavs had to sit and wait.
"I would be mad too if I was kept in the dark like that."
An obviously frustrated Gilbert unloaded an emotional tirade on James, calling his decision "cowardly," and promising that the Cavs will win a championship before James does in Miami.
"I like what Dan did," wrote Cuban, who is no stranger to publishing controversial opinions on the Internet. "He showed the emotion that comes with owning a team. He showed the fans that he is just getting started.
"Good for Dan."
You can take it to the bank."
He calls James' decision to sign with the Miami Heat a "cowardly betrayal," and that James will be toting the Cleveland sports "curse with him down south."
Read Gilbert's full letter here.
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