Jan 12, 2013; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban watches the Mavericks take on the Memphis Grizzlies at the American Airlines Center. The Mavericks defeated the Grizzlies 104-83. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Will the real Mark Cuban please stand up?
I have always been a big fan of Mark Cuban. He has always run the Dallas Mavericks with the passion of a fantasy sports franchise owner, but with the brilliance… and checkbook… of a billionaire businessman. He is a straight forward, no-nonsense kind of guy that tells you like it is and isn’t afraid to go toe-to-toe mentally or verbally with other owners or coaches… or even the NBA commissioner.
However, lately… well, let’s just say that he is drifting into Jerry Jones territory… the way of doing things where the owner meddles too much and over analyzes and over thinks his way into problems. Cuban has made a mess of additions and subtractions that just don’t add up to a fraction of the pinnacle of success he brought to Dallas NBA fans in 2011.
Turn the clock back to the summer of 2011 after the Dallas Mavericks just won their first NBA Championship. I’m not saying they were guaranteed to repeat or even make it back to the Finals, but blowing up a team that just won a championship in hopes of luring more superstars to Dallas because of ONE newly acquired shiny piece of hardware was just… well, un-Cuban-like. He had a Danny Snyder moment and got a little greedy with the soon-to-be free agent talent that was supposed to hit the market. Deron Williams passed on the Mavericks and Dwight Howard never made it to the free agent list, which ruined Cuban’s plans. Obviously, it was a gamble and calculated risk… and had it paid off, he would have looked like a genius if Williams and Howard were in Dallas uniforms… but it didn’t, so he has been ridiculed repeatedly for the blunder and ultimate demise of the Mavericks over the past few years. He has to realize that players are choosing their running mates and destinations… franchises are not choosing the players anymore.
BUT… now it has turned into one free agent miss after another the last few off-seasons (planning for Howard twice and whiffing both times?) and Cuban has had to sign 2nd and 3rd tier players that don’t really fit the needs of their depleted roster. Now, don’t get me wrong, Monta Ellis is a talented player, but he’s not the answer and he’s not going to get Dirk back to the promise land. Cuban had to settle for Ellis. The Mavericks could be slightly better than last year, but they still might not make the playoffs this year. Jose Calderon? Samuel Dalembert? Uh, sorry… not impressed.
As a San Antonio Spurs fan, I could care less if Dirk Nowitzki ever wins another playoff game, much less play for any more NBA Championships… but I hate to see Mark Cuban spiral down the Al-Davis-Jerry-Jones rabbit hole by reaching for names that don’t pan out and then not signing integral pieces to the great puzzle that is an NBA roster. He needs to step back, take a breath, and return to form… building around HIS superstar instead of chasing superstars down rabbit holes.
Where art thou, Mark Cuban? You have traveled out of sight and out of mind… next stop?… the Twilight Zone? or are you joining Alice for tea in Wonderland? I hope you left some breadcrumbs to follow to get back to reality.
All kidding aside… I know Mark Cuban is fully committed to getting the Dallas Mavericks back on track into playoff and Finals contention… the questions are how long will it take, where will the players come from, and what are the right combination of players to get the job done?