Commentary

Not buying what Mark Cuban's selling

Owner can't really believe Mavericks are better off without Deron Williams

Updated: August 22, 2012, 1:02 AM ET
By Jean-Jacques Taylor | ESPNDallas.com

When Deron Williams turned down the Dallas Mavericks, wrecking their 2012 summer plans, and the Los Angeles Lakers acquired Dwight Howard, wrecking the Mavs' 2013 summer plans, you certainly had to wonder when the spin control would start.

Well, the wait is over.

Mark Cuban, the head man himself, took the airwaves Tuesday morning on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM's "Ben & Skin Show" and basically said, "Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?"

"I don't want to pick on Deron Williams because he's a great, great, great player, and so it's not necessarily him, per se," Cuban said. "The conversation we had going back and forth -- and obviously the decision was to go for him -- but the conversation was, 'OK, once you add $17.1 million in salary to what we'd have with Dirk (Nowitzki) and Trix (Shawn Marion), then what do you do?' That's your squad. And it's not just your squad for this year. It's your squad for next year other than the $3.3 million mini midlevel.

"So that was a challenge that we had because we want to win, and everybody talks about Dirk's window. Well, not only would it have been difficult to add players, then it also would have been difficult to trade players, and in reality that was the same problem that Deron had. Because he looked and saw the same thing and said, 'OK, now what are you going to do?'"

[+] EnlargeMark Cuban
AP Photo/Tony GutierrezMark Cuban says it would have been difficult to build the rest of the Mavs' roster if they'd signed Deron Williams.

To suggest the Mavs are better off without Williams than with him is to insult the intelligence of the Mavs' fan base.

It's a stars league in the NBA these days.

Miami has LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Oklahoma City has Kevin Durant, James Harden and Russell Westbrook. The Lakers have Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Pau Gasol and Howard.

But Cuban wants us to believe the Mavs are OK with 34-year-old Dirk, Shawn Marion and a bunch of guys named Joe.

C'mon man. Really?

Sure, players such as Darren Collison and O.J. Mayo have talent and potential, but there's a reason their previous teams let them walk. Chris Kaman and Elton Brand are solid NBA veterans, but they're not going to vault the Mavs into the top four in the Western Conference.

None of us should be shocked if the Mavs don't make the playoffs. It's going to be a season-long struggle.

We don't have to like what happened this summer with the Mavs, but it's better to admit you swung and missed than to come up with this silly cover story about not really wanting Williams.

Whatever.

That's a lie at worst and disingenuous at best.

Cuban is so much better than that.

Dobbs But in hindsight, I don't know if I would have been happy. I think we're in better position now than we would have been if we had gotten him.

-- Mavericks owner Mark Cuban,
on not getting Deron Williams

What was all that talk from Donnie Nelson about landing a big fish? What was all the chatter from Rick Carlisle about Nowitzki needing to be the team's second-best player?

It was the truth.

The Mavs knew they needed to make a move to take some pressure off Dirk because last season we saw the first tangible glimpse of his inevitable decline.

Dirk's descent will be slow. Right now, Dirk remains among the game's best players, but Father Time will eventually kick his butt.

The whole point behind dismantling the championship team was to create salary cap room -- financial flexibility, if you like -- to acquire Williams or Howard.

Perhaps Cuban is just feeling guilty because he opted to film his TV show "Shark Tank" in Los Angeles instead of making the flight to New York and giving Williams a face-to-face pitch to join the Mavs.

All pampered athletes such as Williams desire to be wined, dined and pursued, perhaps Williams more than others because he's been fighting for his share of the spotlight since he was in high school at The Colony, when Bracey Wright was considered the team's best player.

Texting just ain't good enough.

"Maybe, you know, because I always think I can close a sale," Cuban said. "But in hindsight, I don't know if I would have been happy. I think we're in better position now than we would have been if we had gotten him."

If you're an NBA fan, Cuban is a dude you want owning your team because he's passionate, he cares and history says he'll spend money to build a champion.

But he loses credibility when he says the Mavs are better off without Williams.

That's simply not true. It's just revisionist history.

Jean-Jacques Taylor joined ESPNDallas.com in August 2011. A native of Dallas, Taylor spent the past 20 years writing for The Dallas Morning News, where he covered high schools sports, the Texas Rangers and spent 11 seasons covering the Dallas Cowboys before becoming a general columnist in 2006.

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