Dallas Mavericks: Mark Cuban

Mark Cuban plays nice with San Antonio

April, 20, 2014
Apr 20
11:27
AM CT
SAN ANTONIO -- Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who might be the most despised man in San Antonio, is trying to play nice during this playoff series.

Cuban infamously referred to one of San Antonio’s most popular tourist destinations as the “ugly-ass, muddy-watered thing they call a River Walk” during the epic 2006 Western Conference semifinals between the Mavs and Spurs. He’s taken several verbal jabs at San Antonio and the River Walk in the years since then.

But Cuban was lobbing verbal bouquets before Game 1 at the AT&T Center.

“I couldn’t ask for a better view out of my hotel room,” Cuban said, smirking.

Did the water look clean?

“I’m assuming it was pristine,” Cuban said. “It was dark, so it was hard to say, but I saw people with straws.”

Cuban has admittedly enjoyed riling up San Antonio citizens over the years. Asked why he was being so politically correct, Cuban cracked, “Because I’ve come to realize that [the media] gets the greatest benefit out of it.”

Let the games begin.

Mavs' debt on Lamar Odom deal finally paid

April, 17, 2014
Apr 17
12:22
AM CT
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- The Dallas Mavericks have finally paid their debt on the disastrous Lamar Odom deal.

The protected first-round pick the Mavs gave up in the trade, which has since been shipped from the Los Angeles Lakers to the Houston Rockets to the Oklahoma City Thunder, is officially OKC’s property in this draft.

The pick was top-20 protected through 2017, so the Mavs had to finish with one of the NBA’s top 10 records to unload the pick this season. With the Toronto Raptors and Chicago Bulls both losing their regular-season finales, the 49-33 Mavs have the league’s 10th-best record, giving the pick to Oklahoma City.

Had the Bulls or Raptors won, there would have been a random drawing to break the tie with the Mavs and determine the draft order. If the Mavs won the drawing, they wouldn’t have lost the pick this year.

It was the Mavs’ preference to part with the pick this season.

“I’d rather just get it over with,” owner Mark Cuban said before the Mavs’ loss to the Memphis Grizzlies. “I’m fine just getting it out of the way so it’s no longer over our head or an issue.”

The Mavs owing Oklahoma City a protected pick prevented Dallas from discussing giving up future first-round picks in trade talks. An NBA rule prevent teams from trading first-round picks in consecutive years, so the earliest first-rounder the Mavs can deal now would be their 2016 pick.

Bully NBA made Heath's tweets big deal

April, 11, 2014
Apr 11
9:58
AM CT

DALLAS -- The NBA magnified the size of Sean Heath’s microphone by about a millionfold by taking it away from the previously rather anonymous Dallas Mavericks public address announcer for two games.

UPDATE: The suspension has been rescinded, according to a source, with the league opting to fine the Mavs $25,000.

Before ESPNDallas.com broke the news of Heath’s two-game suspension for ref-ripping tweets, his Twitter account had a grand total of 253 followers. Heath’s whining after the Mavs’ April 1 overtime loss was merely a drip in the social media ocean.

It’s a thunderstorm now. The story of Heath’s suspension has been tweeted thousands of times, including by the ESPN NBA account that has more than a million followers. It’s an offbeat story that will be discussed on countless TV and radio shows across the country.

If the NBA office intended to silence talk about the league’s “reputation that the games are rigged,” to use Heath’s most inflammatory words, this was one of the worst ways to do it.

That’s not to let Heath totally off the hook. His marching orders from Mark Cuban are to be as passionate a homer as possible while he’s riling up the American Airlines Center crowds, but that passion got the best of him after his official duties ended following the Mavs’ April Fools' Day heartbreaker.

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Should top 16 make playoffs? Cuban unsure

March, 28, 2014
Mar 28
11:06
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DALLAS – The Mavericks, despite being 13 games above .500, would be the odd team out in the Western Conference if the playoffs started today.

Put the Mavs in the East and they’d have home-court advantage in the first round as the third seed. Meanwhile, two sub-.500 teams are poised to punch playoff tickets in the NBA’s lesser conference.

[+] EnlargeMark Cuban
Jerome Miron/USA TODAY SportsMark Cuban's Mavs would be the No. 3 seed in the East but left out in the West if the playoffs started today.
The massive disparity between the quality of the conferences has prompted plenty of discussion about revamping the way playoff seeds are determined. One question often gets asked: Should the NBA do away with conference affiliation in determining playoff berths and simply put the best 16 teams in a bracket?

Believe it or not, outspoken Mavs owner Mark Cuban, whose team would obviously benefit from such a change this season, isn’t certain how he’d vote if such a switch were formally proposed.

“I can make an argument on both sides,” said Cuban, who anticipates that new NBA commissioner Adam Silver will examine the subject during the offseason.

The argument for such a change is obvious. The system is screwed up when a team that is 12 games over .500 is a playoff spectator while a squad that finishes nine games under gets a postseason berth.

But Cuban cites an unbalanced schedule and travel as issues he needs to study before determining where he stands in this debate.

Cuban noted that the good teams from the lesser conference could have an unfair advantage in seeding because they got to play the lesser teams more often. That seemed to be a secondary concern to travel and other complications, such as tipoff times, that would arise from having teams from the opposite coast face each other in the early rounds of the playoffs. Cuban used a potential Miami Heat-Portland Trail Blazers series as an example.

“That could be tough,” Cuban said. “The timing and all of that stuff could be really messed up in terms of television. Again, it’s something I could make an argument on the other side that you want your best 16 teams playing from a television perspective, travel be damned.

“I don’t have a final position on it yet. I’m keeping all my options yet.”

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DALLAS – Coach Rick Carlisle wants the Mavericks’ players focused on the task at hand each day, not caught up in checking the scoreboard and Western Conference standings.

Of course, Mavs owner Mark Cuban can do whatever he pleases, and he sees significant opportunity when he scans the standings with 10 games to go in the regular season.

Cuban has heard all the talk about the possibility of the Mavs finishing in ninth place, which would mean missing the playoffs for the second straight season after the franchise earned 12 consecutive postseason berths. He wonders why there isn’t any discussion about Dallas climbing up a few spots and grabbing the fifth seed.

“We’re, what, two games behind Portland?” Cuban said.

Yep, the 43-29 Mavs are only two games behind the slumping Trail Blazers (3-7 in their last 10 games) and own the tiebreaker by virtue of Dallas winning the season series, 2-1. The Mavs are 1 games behind the sixth-place Golden State Warriors and have a golden opportunity to make up a game when the Warriors visit Tuesday.

But the Mavs have no breathing room at the bottom of the playoff picture. They’re sitting in the final spot at the moment, percentage points behind the Memphis Grizzlies and a half-game ahead of the Phoenix Suns entering Wednesday night’s NBA action.

As much as the Mavs are living by the one-day-at-a-time mantra, there is a strong belief in the locker room that their battle for a playoff spot will go down to the last week of the season.

The Mavs’ final two games are April 12 at home against the Suns -- a meeting that will determine the Dallas-Phoenix tiebreaker -- and April 16 on the road against a Memphis team that is 0-3 against Dallas this season. The Grizzlies play in Phoenix on April 14, so the final week of the season essentially features a round-robin tournament between the three teams who are within a half-game of each other now.

“We’re going to have our hands full just to get in,” Dirk Nowitzki said. “We’ve got a heck of a schedule coming down the stretch, so I guess that’s all we’re focusing on now, finishing strong these last 10 games, keep competing and playing off each other on offense and see what happens. We’ll worry about matchups when we finally know, but the way it’s looking, it’s going to come down to the last couple of games.

“We kind of waited on Phoenix the whole season to kind of cast away, but they just keep coming. They’re just so athletic and they’re well coached. They’re a fun, fun group to watch. They’re going to keep pushing, and so are we and Memphis.”

A reminder from Cuban: Don’t forget about Portland and Golden State.
DALLAS -- Did you think Dirk Nowitzki was done?

The face of the franchise asked a variation of that question rhetorically in a preseason promotional video for the Dallas Mavericks. Maybe the thought of the big German running out of gas for this season crossed a few minds after last week's slump, which hit a low with one of the worst shooting nights of Nowitzki's life in Sunday's overtime loss to the Brooklyn Nets.

[+] EnlargeDirk Nowitzki
Matthew Emmons/USA TODAY SportsMavs owner Mark Cuban said this of Dirk Nowitzki's performance Tuesday: "He's done that his entire career. There's no reason to think it's going to change now."
Just 48 hours later, any creeping doubt about Dirk was crushed as he delivered one of the best all-around performances of his Hall of Fame career, carrying the Mavs to a much-needed, magnificently entertaining 128-119 overtime win Tuesday night over the Oklahoma City Thunder.

"Dirk was Dirk," said Mavs owner Mark Cuban, who has seen Nowitzki respond to off nights with spectacular performances so many times. "He was fired up. That's what he does. It's no surprise.

"He's done that his entire career. There's no reason to think it's going to change now. This is his time, right? This is where he gets to show everybody what he can do, and it started tonight, right when we needed it."

The line in the box score -- 32 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and four steals -- doesn't even do Dirk's night justice. You had to see his emotion, the intensity in his face, the fire in his eyes, the passionate fist pumps as he screamed an F-word he swears was, "Finally!" following his overtime dagger 3-pointer to fully appreciate this performance.

As far as the Mavs are concerned, this might as well have been a playoff game. If they would have suffered their third overtime loss in a week, the Mavs would have been on the outside of the Western Conference playoff picture looking in, a half-game behind the hot Phoenix Suns.

The postseason version of Dirk showed up for a potential playoff preview. That's the guy who joins Hall of Famers Elgin Baylor, Hakeem Olajuwon and Bob Pettit as the only players in NBA history with career playoff averages of at least 25 points and 10 rebounds.

Nowitzki, who needed and got help from a long list of teammates to beat one of the West's best, admittedly had a little extra determination after his dud Sunday against the Nets. He put that loss, as well as the overtime setback to the Minnesota Timberwolves last week, on his shoulders and was determined not to let his team down again in a game against a contender the Mavs desperately needed.

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Seven months ago, I would have been right there with Mark Cuban. I would have been ready to high-five the owner of the NBA's Dallas Mavericks, who on Sunday night predicted the NFL "is 10 years away from implosion" thanks to its slow creep toward a daily game schedule.

The conclusion seemed reasonable in Week 2 of the 2013 season, specifically after a brutal Thursday night game between the New England Patriots and New York Jets. The contest featured four Jets turnovers, 40 incomplete passes and 20 punts. The season's first game on three days' rest was a total dud, and I set out to document what I figured would be a season-long discrepancy between quality of play on Thursday night -- as best as it could be measured -- and games on Sunday or Monday.

As it turned out, the numbers evened out over the course of the season. Our visual and anecdotal impressions might have told us one thing, but the job of documenting poor play on Thursday nights proved difficult. Ratings for those games set an NFL Network record, and the league sold a portion of its 2014 broadcast rights to CBS for about $275 million, according to the Sports Business Journal. The package includes 14 Thursday night games and a Saturday doubleheader in Week 16.

The study was by no means perfect, of course, but a different outcome probably would have pushed me to support Cuban's theory. Speaking to reporters in Dallas, Cuban suggested that the NFL was on its way to oversaturating the market. "They're trying to take over every night of TV," he said. "It's all football. At some point, the people get sick of it."

I'm not sure that's true. Ubiquitous football won't turn fans off on its own. There is an undeniable weekly rhythm to a football season, but as long as most games are played on Sunday, it's difficult to see a widespread revolt.

Here's what will send people looking elsewhere: Ubiquitous bad football. If the inconsistent and/or short rest involved in playing on days other than Sunday diminishes the standard NFL quality of play, then the league will in fact have overextended.

At the moment, there is no obvious data to suggest that Thursday night games are played more poorly than those on Sunday or Monday. Saturday games have a long and largely unchallenged history in the NFL as well. Cuban's comments seem driven more by industry competitiveness than a documented trend.

Cuban is right in a business sense. Greed can lead to overextension and failure, but if there is evidence that the NFL has overextended itself by adding its Thursday night schedule, I haven't seen it. Players, of course, don't like it. Via Twitter, Green Bay Packers guard Josh Sitton compared it to "getting in a car wreck Sunday then getting hit by a train Thursday" -- but once again the available data doesn't suggest any major deviation. According to a league study released in January, injury rates have actually been lower on Thursday nights compared to Sunday and Monday games in each of the past three seasons.

Cuban might well have a visionary window into a future result that we can't project based on current information. But for the moment, his suggestion that the NFL is on a path to implode seems more like wishful thinking than anything else.
DALLAS -- Mark Cuban offered high praise Sunday evening for Brooklyn’s head coach.

The Nets’ front office? Not so much.

Only a couple of Western Conference contenders, the San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Clippers, have better records than rookie head coach Jason Kidd’s Brooklyn Nets since the calendar flipped to 2014. That success prompted Cuban to be complimentary of the coaching job performed by the former Mavericks point guard.

“In 2014, he’s done a phenomenal job,” Cuban said before the Nets’ overtime win over the Mavs on Sunday night. “They’re playing well. His style works. And they are who their record says they are.”

However, Cuban didn’t back off his early-season comments that the Nets were an example of a team that is “stuck” with a bloated payroll and veteran-heavy roster with extremely limited avenues of upgrading. In early December, after Brooklyn had stumbled to a 5-13 start, Cuban cited the Nets’ situation as his fear for the Mavs had he opted to keep Dallas’ 2011 title roster intact under the new collective bargaining agreement.

“I still look at it the same way,” Cuban said before the Nets’ 107-104 overtime win over the Mavs on Sunday night. “Nothing’s changed.”

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Cuban: Dirk knows I've got his back

March, 21, 2014
Mar 21
9:00
AM CT
Cuban & NowitzkiAP Photo/LM OteroMark Cuban says he tries to make sure his jabs are taken in a way that shows he's being supportive.

What was the point of Mark Cuban’s public criticism of Dirk Nowitzki’s recent energy and effort on defense earlier this week?

PODCAST
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban talks about his recent comments on Dirk Nowitzki's play.

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“I needed to jab him a little bit,” Cuban said during a Thursday appearance on ESPN LA 710’s Max and Marcellus Show. “I mean, I said it to his face before I said it to the media. Look, Dirk knows that I’ve got his back on everything, on the court and off. We’ve been doing this together for 14 years. Like I told him before, I said, ‘I’m allowed to mess with you every five or 10 years.’

“He texted me and we talked and it’s over. We’ve got that kind of relationship. And there’s other guys I’ve taken little jabs at, but you do it to guys that you know will take it the right way. I try to make it in a manner that shows that I’m being supportive. I certainly love Dirk.

“Because the next question they asked was, ‘Would you ever trade Dirk?’ And the answer was absolutely not.”

Quick note: That question wasn’t actually asked. The beat writers in attendance during Cuban’s unprompted call-out of his superstar are well aware that Nowitzki has a no-trade clause and has verbally committed to re-sign with the Mavs for a to-be-negotiated reduced salary this summer.

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3 Points: What's a successful season?

March, 19, 2014
Mar 19
12:00
PM CT
Dirk NowitzkiLayne Murdoch/NBAE/Getty ImagesDid Sunday's win in OKC show that the Mavs could challenge the Thunder in a playoff series?
ESPNDallas.com columnist Jean-Jacques Taylor and MavsOutsider.com editor-in-chief Bryan Gutierrez will join me each week to run a three-man weave on a few questions on the minds of Mavs fans.

1. What should be a successful season for these Mavs?

Gutierrez: If we’re still buying in on Mark Cuban’s two-year plan, I would say a successful season in terms of tangible win-loss results would be getting into the playoffs and, depending on the seeding, winning a game or two. I think the probability of extending a series greatly improves if they can somehow manage to wind up as the sixth seed. I think this season has already been a success because they’ve found a true running mate for Dirk Nowitzki in Monta Ellis. They were expecting a nice player, but I think they’ve gotten more than they expected in Ellis. His aggression on offense and commendable all-around play have made him a great piece for the new core. With a new core and cap space, they can continue to propel themselves back to contention near the top of the West. That’s a success in my book.

Taylor: Given the makeup of this roster and where they will likely finish in the Western Conference, I'd say getting to the second round would be a sensational season. A good season, as strange as it sounds, would be pushing their first-round opponent 6 or 7 games, especially if it's San Antonio or Oklahoma City. I don't expect them to get to the second round and for a franchise with their history, it seems bad to say just getting to playoffs is a successful season.

MacMahon: The Mavs have to at least put up a fight in the first round to feel good about this season. No matter how tough the West might be, the Mavs are too proud of a franchise to consider just getting into the playoffs to be an accomplishment worth celebrating. Last season was viewed as an epic failure because the Mavs’ 12-year playoff streak was snapped, and that was with Dirk missing the first two months and dragging his leg around for several more weeks. Cuban will say he’s never satisfied with anything short of a title, but we all know the standards have been lowered over the last few years. Go six games in the first round, and that can be considered significant progress.

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Cuban welcomes back 'bucket boy' Jackson

March, 18, 2014
Mar 18
12:56
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DALLAS -- Mark Cuban might be as excited as anybody west of Manhattan to see Phil Jackson working in the NBA again.

“My bucket boy is back,” Cuban kidded, bringing up his favorite term for Jackson during the verbal sparring sessions between the Mavericks’ owner and former Lakers coach.

In all seriousness, Cuban believes the league is better off with Jackson in it, as he is again after accepting a job as the Knicks’ president. Cuban said as much when Jackson retired from coaching -- the Lakers were swept by the Mavs in the 11-time champion coach’s final series -- and has consistently reiterated the point over the last two and a half years.

Jackson, who played forward on the Knicks’ title teams in 1970 and 1973, embracing the challenge of trying to clean up New York’s salary-cap mess and build a contender in the NBA’s biggest media market is especially intriguing.

"It's great just because of the legacy, the pedigree, the questions. Can he do it again?" Cuban said. “He’s won everywhere he’s gone, including his first stop in New York, so can he do it again?”

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Mavericks love Monta Ellis' toughness

March, 17, 2014
Mar 17
11:39
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DALLAS -- Only one Maverick has played every game this season, and it seems to coach Rick Carlisle that Monta Ellis is “hell-bent” to play all 82.

“He’s going to play unless he has a compound fracture,” Carlisle said.

Even in that case, Ellis said he’d try to find a way to get on the floor.

Consider what happened on the Mavericks’ three-game trip before the All-Star break, with Ellis playing despite a strained hamstring, surprising Carlisle by even traveling with the team, much less suiting up.

[+] EnlargeMonta Ellis
Paul Moseley/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/Getty Images"I always want to be out there to help my team win," Monta Ellis said. "Even if I'm not scoring, I still give my team a better chance of winning if I'm out there on the floor."
Ellis’ competitive commitment continued during the Mavs’ back-to-back wins the past couple of nights, when he refused to sit out despite being sick enough that breathing bothered him.

Ellis doesn’t care about the milestone of playing every game for the second consecutive season. He just can’t stomach sitting out.

“I just hate sitting on the sideline,” Ellis said after logging 37 minutes in the Mavs’ 94-89 win Monday night over the Boston Celtics. “I’ve always been like that my whole life. I love the game of basketball so much that I can’t sit on the sideline and watch.

“If I have the ability to walk into the gym, I have the ability to go out on the court and play basketball. That’s just my mentality.”

Ellis’ game isn’t always pretty, as was the case the past two nights, when he was only 6-of-18 from the floor. But the Mavs appreciate that they can always count on Ellis -- who leads the Mavs in minutes and is called irreplaceable by Carlisle -- to be present.

“Monta have it all when it comes to pain threshold,” owner Mark Cuban said, playing off a famous line uttered by Ellis last year. “He’s a warrior. You ask him how he’s feeling: ‘I gotcha.’ You ask him if he’s hurt: ‘I gotcha.’ Some guys look for reasons to go the other way. Monta doesn’t need a reason.

“He’s in, and that speaks volumes about him.”

And the Mavs know Ellis will do everything he can to contribute, whether or not his shot is falling.

Ellis’ attacking style is a critical element to the Mavs’ offense. He ranks third in the NBA in drives per game (10.0), according to the league’s player tracking data, and leads the Mavs with 5.8 assists per game. He had seven assists against the Thunder on Sunday, more than making up for his off shooting night.

Ellis had a 17-point, seven-rebound, four-assist outing against the Celtics. He didn’t shoot well (4-of-11), but he hit a big 3-pointer with 2:16 remaining and a couple of clutch free throws to help seal the win.

But Ellis’ most impressive stat against Boston can’t be found in a box score. It was his three charges drawn. Those gritty plays epitomize the just-wanna-win attitude of a guy who desperately seeks playoff success after being part of only one postseason series win in his first eight NBA seasons.

That’s why Ellis can’t fathom taking a night off while the Mavs are fighting for a playoff spot.

“I always want to be out there to help my team win,” Ellis said. “Right now, I think we’re in a situation where everything counts, and I feel like I give my team a better chance. Even if I’m not scoring, I still give my team a better chance of winning if I’m out there on the floor.”

3 Points: Odd team out in the West?

March, 5, 2014
Mar 5
12:34
PM CT
ESPNDallas.com columnist Jean-Jacques Taylor and MavsOutsider.com editor-in-chief Bryan Gutierrez will join me each week to run a three-man weave on a few questions on the minds of Mavs fans.

1. Who will be the odd team out among the four squads fighting for the West's final few playoff spots?

SportsNation

Which team will miss out on the playoffs?

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    1%
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    17%
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    32%
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    50%

Discuss (Total votes: 985)

Gutierrez: I still think Memphis ends up being the odd team out. They're a team that is still relatively stuck in identity limbo. They've been known for their defense, but they're no longer a top-10 team in terms of defensive efficiency. Earlier in the season Memphis flirted with the idea of pushing the tempo on offense, but they don't have the personnel to function in that style. That leads to them being in the bottom half of offensive efficiency. The Mavericks also hold the tiebreaker over the Grizzlies, putting Memphis farther behind the eight ball. The Mavericks have a brutal stretch ahead of them to finish out the season, but they at least have a top-level offense to hang their hat on. They'll struggle but find a way to hold on. If for some reason they fall flat on their face to finish the season, that will open the door for Memphis to sneak in.

Taylor: It's going to be a tight race all the way until the final game or two, but I don't believe in Phoenix. They're fading, having lost seven of 13, and they don't have a true star that can carry a team late in the season. The Suns weren't supposed to be a playoff team this year, and they may be coming back to the pack after a fantastic start.

MacMahon: The schedule isn’t doing any favors for any of these teams, but at least the Mavs play the majority of their games at home the rest of the way. The Grizzlies (14 of 23) and Suns (14 of 22) will be road warriors the rest of the way. Given the Grizzlies’ significant advantage in experience, I’ll also pick the Suns to slide out of the playoff picture and into the lottery.

2. Is Mark Cuban correct that elite prospects would be better served by playing in the D-League instead of a one-and-done college career?

Gutierrez: Cuban is on the right track. If the goal is the NBA, a teenager's best interest isn't by being a part of an NCAA team. The NBA ecosystem, which includes the D-League, and allows players to get proper practice, further understanding of the game, access to state of the art training facilities and steady, consistent time for playing. Players get to compete against others who are pursuing the same goal. These players would be competing against professionals or semi-professionals, thus playing against better talent and giving them a better chance to improve. There are things that the D-League needs to improve on, but I think it's headed in the right direction. There would be complete transparency with Cuban's idea, something that is clearly lacking in the NCAA.

Taylor: That's a complicated question because the NCAA doesn't care about the kids and neither does the NBA. Each entity sees players only as currency that will make its product better. There's something to be said for going to school – even if it's for a year or a semester. Then again, there's something to be said for immersing yourself in your chosen field and seeing how good you can be. I wouldn't mind kids who have no interest in school going to a developmental league.

MacMahon: It’s a fascinating idea that would need a lot of follow-up work. If the NBA wants elite prospects to go straight to the D-League – and maybe the league office doesn’t – then it needs to take major steps to enhance the D-League. This can’t be a situation that some teams take seriously and some don’t. It has to be a league-wide effort. Cuban is on point about the NCAA being a bunch of hypocrites, but it’s hard to argue that D-League coaches are superior than the coaches at college basketball powerhouses.

3. What do you make of the D-League dominance by Jae Crowder and Bernard James?

[+] EnlargeBernard James, Jae Crowder
Crystal LoGiudice/USA TODAY SportsBernard James and Jae Crowder dominated in the
D-League, but how much does that really mean?
Gutierrez: I make of it that they're doing what they're supposed to do. They're players that know what it takes to perform at an NBA level, so they should be able to thrive at a level below that. Cuban said it best -- if they lollygag or don't perform as expected, they'll find themselves making more trips to Frisco. James is project center who still needs to learn the fundamentals on offense, but he's on the older side of the spectrum as a project. Crowder still needs to find his way in becoming an all-around threat. He can defend, but he's not overly great at anything else. The Mavericks are likely pumping a dry well when it comes to James. The question then becomes, can Crowder evolve to become a consistent option as a rotational player? Dominance in Frisco likely won't help answer that question, but it will allow him to get more time to play and work on his game.

Taylor: Nothing. They're still basically end-of-the-bench NBA guys. It would be like me getting impressed if a bench warmer or role player at Duke went to Division II and average 25 points a game. No different than guys who hammer Triple-A pitching but can't get it done in the big leagues.

MacMahon: If guys flunk the J.J. Barea test, they won’t ever amount to anything in the NBA. In other words, if you’ve got a chance to be a quality NBA role player, you better dominate in the D-League. It’d have been disappointing if Crowder (two triple-doubles) and James (38 points, 18 rebounds in his one game) didn’t tear it up for the Texas Legends. (It’s a red flag that Shane Larkin and Ricky Ledo haven’t had bigger impacts in the D-League.) It’s evidence that Crowder and James have some potential, not proof that they should be in the Mavs’ rotation right now.
I’ve got a plane to Denver to catch, so let’s skip the small talk and get right to your questions.

Is Rick Carlisle the best pure coach we have ever had in the Metroplex? Obviously Landry and Jimmy are the gold standards, but what Carlisle did in winning the title with that roster and what he has done subsequently is pretty darn amazing. -- Jared (Fort Worth)

All due respect to Carlisle, and that’s a ton, but let’s tap the brakes a bit. Under Tom Landry, the Cowboys had 20 consecutive winning seasons, made five Super Bowls and won two championships. And he essentially served as his own offensive and defensive coordinator, coming up with revolutionary concepts on both sides of the ball.

Carlisle
AP Photo/LM OteroWhere does Rick Carlisle rank among the greatest coaches in Dallas sports history?
Landry is one of the great coaches in the history of sports, period. We can’t put Carlisle in that class, at least not yet.

Having said that, I firmly believe that the job done by Carlisle and his staff during the Mavs’ 2011 championship run is the best coaching job in local sports history. It might be the best in NBA history.

It started with Carlisle’s psychological genius after the Mavs’ fourth-quarter collapse in Portland and ended with the Mavs making mush of LeBron James’ brain in the Finals. Oh, and Carlisle swept Phil Jackson into retirement in between, keyed in part by an unconventional Dirk-and-reserves lineup that the Lakers had no answer for.

Carlisle is definitely on the Metroplex coaches Mt. Rushmore (forgive me). But he needs another strong decade or so to be considered at the same level as Landry.

How much involvement does Rick Carlisle have with personnel decisions? It seems a little uncertain as to how the Mavs power structure works between Mark Cuban, Donnie Nelson and Carlisle and who actually puts the team together. -- Jason (Dallas)

Ultimately, Cuban makes the decisions because he signs the checks. It’s his money, and he’s the lead guy when it comes to the Mavs’ cap management. But Cuban trusts his basketball people to guide him, and that includes Carlisle.

Nelson does the heavy lifting when it comes to scouting and researching potential personnel moves, but Carlisle gets to give as much input as he wants. Cuban makes suggestions -- often based on analytics -- for his basketball people to consider. However, Cuban values their knowledge and isn’t so egotistical to think his hoops expertise approaches their level.

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Cuban: 'Great steps' from new commish

February, 24, 2014
Feb 24
7:21
PM CT
NEW YORK -- Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban appreciates that the NBA, under new commissioner Adam Silver, is now privately contacting teams regarding transparency over calls made by officials.

“I think he’s taken some great steps on the officiating,” Cuban said of Silver. “There’s been more changes in 15 days or whatever it is than I saw in 14 years. So I like what he’s doing there. I don’t see a lot, but the few things I’ve seen have been very positive.

“Things like sending out reports, proactive reports, being transparent on calls proactively, those are things that never would’ve happened [previously].”

Cuban has been asking for this type of transparency forever, and it’s finally started to happen -- albeit slowly.

Cuban explained more of what he was talking about.

“Like last night in the Houston-Phoenix game, Dwight Howard steps in [to the lane] seven seconds early. He’s waiting there like he’s boxing out before the free throw. And they didn’t call anything. So my expectation is that they’ll say something proactively to the teams, maybe not publicly, so that we we know (A) are they gonna allow that? Or (B), they’re not going to allow it and it should’ve been called and next time it will be called,” Cuban said.

“And then they'll say something to the officials, because we don't know, OK, this is the way to do it, or not the way to do it. In the past, you’d find out the hard way. Now, not on everything, but they’ve been more proactive and it’s a huge step in the right direction.”
  • Cuban was also asked Monday if the Mavericks might pursue one of the players who was recently waived.


    “We’ll talk about it. But I don’t see anything happening,” Cuban said.
    The Mavericks currently have 15 players under contract.
  • Cuban on how many years Dirk Nowitzki, 35, has left: “Five, six, seven. Like I said, I think my hops are better than Dirk’s, and so it’s about technique and skill set. And as long as his body holds up, he’ll keep on playing.”
  • Cuban on why the Mavericks are 8-2 in their past 10: “We’re boxing out. We’re rebounding. How many games in a row has it been -- with the exception of Charlotte -- 7-8 games in a row we’ve outrebounded a team? If we said we were gonna do that, y’all would’ve laughed at us. We’ve been rebounding, we’re focused on the fundamentals, we’re paying attention to the little things and that’s what a veteran team should know how to do, and that’s what we’re doing.”
  • Cuban on the dominance of the Western Conference compared to the East: “That’s been happening for 14 years. There’s no reason to start getting frustrated now.”
  • Cuban on a report his team was looking to add an All-Star: “We’re always trying to All-Star-caliber players. We try a lot of things. I’ll give you a second-round pick for that first team all-pro. You ask, but you hope they’re on drugs and say yes.”
  • Cuban said the reason for a lack of moves at the trade deadline was that teams placed a huge value on their draft picks. It remains to be seen if that will work out.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Dirk Nowitzki
PTS AST STL MIN
21.7 2.7 0.9 32.9
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsS. Dalembert 6.8
AssistsM. Ellis 5.7
StealsM. Ellis 1.7
BlocksS. Dalembert 1.2