Friday, October 26, 2012
Mark Cuban: No Delonte West call yet
By Tim MacMahon
DALLAS -- Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said no decision has been made to cut ties with suspended guard Delonte West, contradicting what a team source told ESPNDallas.com on Thursday night.
The Mavs have suspended West for conduct detrimental to the team twice in the last two weeks, although the first suspension lasted only 21 hours, ending after West met with coach Rick Carlisle and president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson.
While the source said Thursday that the team is in the process of negotiating terms of West's departure with his agent, Dan Fegan, Cuban insists that the determination about West's future with the Mavs is "just a process that's pretty much down to me making a decision."
"It'll be my call," Cuban said. "I'll make the decision. No decision has been made, but we're also not in any rush to make a decision. We'll do what we think is best, but we're not going to be in a situation like we were with a player last year."
That was a reference to Lamar Odom, who tested the Mavs' patience for months before Cuban finally decided to dismiss him with pay in the final month of the regular season.
Cuban acknowledged that the timing of his decision on West would be influenced by Monday's deadline to trim the roster to 15 players. The Mavs' roster currently stands at 18 after they claimed center Eddy Curry off of waivers and signed swingman Chris Douglas-Roberts and center/forward Melvin Ely to nonguaranteed contracts.
The source said both suspensions stemmed from frequent behavioral missteps by West, an eight-year veteran who was a valuable role player for the Mavs last season, averaging 9.6 points and 3.2 assists while playing tenacious defense at both guard spots.
When reached by ESPNDallas.com on Thursday morning, West said he was being blamed for an argument between teammates after the Mavs' 88-76 exhibition loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night in Wichita, Kan. He said he got a text Thursday morning telling him not to come to the American Airlines Center for practice.
"There was an argument between two teammates in the locker room last night that didn't involve me," he said. "Somehow I'm being blamed for it. I had nothing to do with it. I don't know what's going on."
Mavs' management was concerned about West's influence on the young players on the roster, the source said. There was a strong feeling that West could not contain his frustration over being signed to a one-year, veteran-minimum contract for the second consecutive season and being part of a logjam among reserve guards.
According to the source, the options the team and Fegan are discussing include giving West a buyout, waiving him or reaching a mutual decision to part ways, in which West would be free to sign with another team but would not be paid by the Mavs.
West indicated on Twitter earlier Thursday that he didn't expect to return to Dallas.
"If I'm not what u lookin 4 ....That's fine...just dont kick me in my ass on the way out the door....I didn't do anything to deserve that..." West tweeted, followed two minutes later by: "I love the city of Dallas..I love playin in the NBA...no I'm not off my meds...no I ain't on no bipolar trip...this real people lives....And it just ain't right..imma leave it at that..no ill will towards no one...I'm just sittin here across from the arena wit tear in my eyes."
Carlisle addressed his team briefly about West's suspension before Thursday's practice but declined to discuss it with the media, referring to a statement the team released saying it would have no further comment on the issue.
"We're losing a competitor," said Vince Carter, who planned to call his friend. "That's just plain and simple. He's a competitor. We all know that. You just hate to see everybody going through their differences, because that's one guy you can rely on."
Carlisle had suspended West for conduct detrimental to the team Oct. 15 after a locker-room outburst. The Mavericks reinstated West less than 24 hours later after he met with Carlisle and Nelson.
The team would not elaborate on the outburst at that time.
"There was an outstanding issue, and we needed to talk about it," Carlisle said after the initial suspension. "He needed to refocus, and he's in the process of doing that. It's going to be work. It's going to be daily work for him to do that, and I've got to help him and our organization is going to help him, too. It's not that big a deal."
West has had run-ins with the law in the past and revealed in 2009 that he suffers from bipolar disorder. He was suspended for the first 10 games of the 2010-11 season after pleading guilty to weapons charges in Maryland. Authorities say he was carrying three loaded guns and a knife when he was stopped for speeding on a three-wheel motorcycle in 2009.