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As for the Greek Freak: Who made final call to pass him up, and why? “It was me,” Cuban said. “Donnie [Nelson] was like, ‘OK, I’m putting my you-know-whats on the table.’ He was doing the Sam Cassell, Nick Van Exel dance. … It’s all in. And I’m like, ‘Donnie, we have this plan.’ Because even as good as the Greek Freak has turned out to be, he was still three years away, and we wanted to try to get somebody who could help get us to the top right there and then. Didn’t turn out that way, it is what it is, that happens.”
“Our guys were like, ‘We should take the Greek Freak,'” Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said recently on Sirius XM NBA Radio, recalling the 2013 draft. “All we had was two tapes, and someone who would go to see him, but we were trying to get Dwight [Howard] — that was the Dwight year, too. And, OK, we’re trying, we have a plan, we’re gonna stick to it. We thought we had a good shot. Didn’t turn out that way.”
Making an appearance on the ESPN telecast of the Mavs’ Las Vegas Summer League game against Phoenix on Sunday, Cuban said things would different if his team — coming off its first losing season since he took over in 2000 — were in the Eastern Conference. “We’re rebuilding, there’s no question about it,” said Cuban, who made headlines in May when he admitted the Mavericks tanked after being eliminated from playoff contention. “If we were in the East, we would not be rebuilding. We’d be handling things completely different.”
Eddie Sefko: Mark Cuban on who has final call in draft: “Donnie (Nelson). Always. The only time I get involved is money and the money is already set.”
Earl K. Sneed: Dirk Nowitzki says he hasn’t had any discussion with the @Dallas Mavericks front office about Year 2 of his current deal. Mavs have a team option. pic.twitter.com/35IiFRbgXm
But with the Mavs eager to retool this summer in order to build a championship contender, Nowitzki says he’s ready to work with team owner Mark Cuban and president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson to help with the reconstruction of the roster. “You know, if you go on with a team like I have for so long, if that’s what it takes, I guess that’s what it takes. I did that decision last summer when I decided to sign on,” Nowitzki explained after completing the first season of a reported two-year deal worth $50 million. “I obviously knew there was a possibility (of rebuilding), and at the end of the day I just can’t imagine myself in a different uniform, so that’s why I made that decision. Whatever comes, if we’re rebuilding, then I’m the face of that. If we’re (competing) for a championship, then I’m here for that.”
Nowitzki: “I’ve just identified myself with the organization so long, with the fan base here and with the city that, you know, no matter what the team or the franchise is going through, I’m right there to push it through. That’s why I signed on for two more years last year, and we’ll just wait and see what team we have next year. But I’m here, obviously, to help in any way I can and whatever situation we’re going to be in next year.”
“Unfortunately, since there’s no playoffs, we’ve got plenty of time now,” Nowitzki candidly said. “I’ll be around for a while, and I’m sure we’ll meet with Mark and with Donnie. You know, [Mavs coach Rick Carlisle] will be here and even [leading scorer Harrison Barnes], and we’ll just see how we can help and how we can make this better. Maybe I’ll be in the draft room this year, if that’s what it takes. … I think we’ve got plenty of time over the next few weeks to set a plan, execute the plan on draft day hopefully and maybe in free agency, and we’ll go from there.”
Dwain Price: “And I don’t care what the reaction is. Everyone in the organization has been very positive.” — Mark Cuban on the addition of Tony Romo
From Cuban’s perspective, having a top-notch coach is just as critical to success as finding a top-notch player. And when it comes to Carlisle, Cuban believes he’s one of the top three in the business. “I’ve said a million times, hiring a coach is the hardest job in professional sports,” Cuban said. “And we got lucky; we’ve got a good one.” Carlisle is the franchise’s winningest coach with 411 victories and ranks 19th on the NBA’s all-time list with 692 wins. He needs just five more victories to pass Red Holzman for 18th place on that illustrious list, and just eight more to become the 18th coach with at least 700.
“My agent said it’s probably not going to happen, but I’m not the right guy to ask. The only thing I can tell you is I’m not banging on [Mark] Cuban’s door or Donnie’s [Nelson] door asking for a trade, contrary to what was [written] last month.”
Tim MacMahon: Mark Cuban is the general manager of the Dallas Mavericks. Let’s not get that twisted at all. Donnie Nelson does a lot of the contract negotiations, does a lot of the trade talks, but he does not make any of the decisions. Mark Cuban makes every single basketball decision. Mark Cuban makes decisions a lot of times where Donnie and Rick Carlisle have great input and sometimes makes decisions that go in the face of their advice.
Dirk Nowitzki on his future:: “My goal is to fulfil my contract. In the summer I signed for two more years. But I also have to check on my health. No one knows where I will go later, but I think that I’ll always have a home here in Dallas. I have been here for 20 years now, my wife for ten. If I want to, I would get a job at the Mavericks so I think we might stay here after the end of my career.”
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January 15, 2018 | 10:03 pm EST Update
Jovan Buha: Doc Rivers with the low-key shade at Chris Paul pregame: “I think there will be a lot of fans that look at Chris and say, ‘You left us.’ And they’ll be right. But, in my opinion, there should always be the fans that say, ‘Thank you for your years of service.’”
Jonathan Feigen: No restrictions on Rockets F Luc Mbah a Moute in his return tonight, other than how he battles the rust after a month out.
Lonzo Ball’s swollen left knee kept him out of Monday’s game at Memphis and the Los Angeles Lakers rookie says he will not be able to test it until the swelling goes down. The point guard said he can’t run on his minor knee sprain but hopes to return soon.
Malone framed MLK Day more as a pressing, ongoing argument than a remembrance. “Especially in the current climate, it’s that much more important,” Malone said as the Nuggets wound down a shootaround at their Pepsi Center practice court. “When you have a president making some of the comments that he has made, it’s so important to remember and honor the legacy of Dr. King and what his message was. Simple, but powerful. Fight for equality, fight for the respect of everybody. White, black, male, female. Doesn’t matter.”
“In today’s day and age, with everything we’re going through in communities across the country, (King’s) message is probably more prevalent and profound today and just as strong as it was back in the 1960s when the civil rights movement was in its heyday,” Malone said.
“It’s not a tyrant running the NBA,” Malone said. “We respect our players, and we want them to have a voice. We want them to use their voice, hopefully, in a respectful manner. … Our commissioner (Adam Silver) wants the players, the coaches — everybody who works under the NBA umbrella — to feel together and unified and to embrace everything out there.”