Tanking Rumors

Is this already a lost season? Should the Mavericks start positioning for an optimal draft position, similar to late last season, when Mark Cuban admitted they kinda, sorta tanked games? “But not until we were eliminated,” Cuban reminded Tuesday night before his Mavericks, then 1-10, faced the Wizards in Washington D.C. “And until we’re eliminated, we ain’t tanking here, either. “I still think we can turn this around,” he said. “We’ve been in 1-9 stretches during various parts of various seasons in the past, so it’s not like we haven’t been here before. It’s just that you never want to start the season like that.”
They traded away or largely refused to sign veteran players in hopes of poor finishes to give them high draft picks. They had the longest losing streak and nearly the worst won-loss record in NBA history in recent seasons. Still, many Philadelphia fans embraced a strategy that others considered tanking. “Trust the process” became a slogan for the fans, and O’Neil said the 76ers have sold more than 14,000 full-season ticket packages for this season. “We’re going to sell out every game and this is a team that won 28 games last year and I think 10 the year before, and we seem to capture the hearts and minds of the city,” he said. “And I guess that’s in a nutshell what we hope to accomplish with all the properties.”
However, in order to get what they want next summer, they’ll have to focus on the present. The more they win, the more attractive they become to superstars who might become available in free agency next year. “I can’t wait,” Nance said. “Hearing all that tanking talk [last year] is like nails on the chalkboard to a competitor. I don’t even want to play if tanking is on the table. … This season is about improvement and wins. And getting to be the best team and having the best chemistry that we can possibly have and getting everybody to play the best that they can play. That’s what I’ve been waiting for. … I, for one, am ecstatic. I’m eager. I wish the first game was tomorrow.”
Daryl Morey on tanking as an NBA-wide problem: “Teams have to go through cycles … What you want to have though is that when a team is in its rebuilding cycle, which every team goes through – we went through it after Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady – you don’t want them to sit around the table and be dreaming of ways [to get worse]. … ‘It’s not good enough to only win 25 games, to actually get the best odds, we have to win 15 games.’ It’s just bad for the league that a team in a rebuilding cycle has to think about ‘Maybe I won’t sign a free agent because, oh my goodness, that might win us a few extra games.’ … When you’re down in that rebuilding trough, you shouldn’t have to dream up more ways to be even s–ttier so that you can get the odds at a top player.”
Pat Riley is thinking outside the box – way outside the box – when it comes to tanking. Riley recently was asked about seeding teams 1 through 16, regardless of conference, for the postseason, an idea that has been floated because the number of stacked teams in the West has caused an imbalance between the two conferences. “One through 16, whatever they want do to with that, yes,” he said. “It’s workable.”