Cuban is All About the Money
A couple of things about the Mavericks and this off-season. First, it becomes more apparent to me each passing season that owner Mark Cuban is content to have won a championship and is now more concerned with other business and personal pursuits (I never said Shark Tank). In that sense he isn’t too unlike his Cowboy counterpart, Jerry Jones, who talks a good game but his actions never follow up. Jerry got his three rings in the infancy of his ownership of the Cowboys and for the last 17 years it’s been gravy. Sure he’d like to win and he says it all the time. But who are we kidding, every owner of every team in every league would rather win than lose. That fact doesn’t distinguish Jones or Cuban from every other crazy rich guy. Winning is more fun. But the cold, hard truth for all of those rich guys is that money trumps everything. By remaining the teams general manager, over all of the objections, over all the evidence that he hasn’t done a good job of it, Jones continues to prove that as long as the Cowboys keep winning at the cash register, he really doesn’t care THAT much about winning another Super Bowl.
Cuban says he hates to lose, that he desperately wants to win every game, but then he also said in the past day or two that while he wants to “swing for the fences” in the NBA free agency market, he isn’t going to offer anyone, not LeBron, not Carmelo, a maximum contract. That “swing for the fences” must mean showing a big effort but not really connecting with the ball. A Reggie Jackson strike out, impress the hell out of everyone but walk to the dugout all the same.
Cuban defends his stance by saying that all of the big free agents aren’t going anywhere anyway. Just like Dirk, they’re doing what they have to do to get a new contract for a few more years, but ultimately they don’t want to leave where they’re at. How Cuban knows this, I’m not sure, since he hasn’t exactly been Karnac the Magnificent when it comes to reading the NBA tea leaves. Name the last “big name” free agent that the Mavericks have signed…I’ll wait…okay, how about a semi-big name free agent…crickets. That was a constant Cuban mantra in the first few years of his ownership. My plane is cooler, my locker room has wifi and X-Box, all the stars will want to come to Dallas. That was 12 years ago and we’re still waiting. He got his ring and the Mavs keep selling out American Airlines Center and the money flows and Cuban is okay with that. As my dad always said, “watch what a man does, not what he says.” What Cuban does is very little to improve the Mavs and a lot to improve his bottom line.
On a quick side note, as Cuban was discussing free agency he paid homage to his coach Rick Carlisle, saying that he’s one of the top 3 or 4 coaches in the league and that Carlisle is a huge reason why free agents might want to play for the Mavericks. That being the case, and since coaches salaries don’t go toward the salary cap, why does Cuban pay Carlisle less than a backup point guard? Shouldn’t Doc Rivers and Carlisle and Tom Thibodeau and certainly Gregg Popovich be making $12-$15 million per year? They are one of the main reasons, according to most people, that their teams are winning as often as they do, and they never miss games with sprained knees, so why pay a free agent forward $45 million for four seasons and HOPE he pans out? These guys are proven winners and Carlisle makes $4.5 million a year. Doesn’t make sense to me.