Mark Cuban on trust. On trades. On why Avery had to go. On this team’s “bad chemistry.’’ On Dirk “breaking plays.’’ On J-Ho’s “boneheaded mistake.’’ On Carlisle as a teacher. On the All-Star Game in North Texas. On the Cubs. And on why he is certain next year’s team will be better poised to contend.
The Mavs owner, speaking Wednesday on , fielded a wide range of questions. He did so with his usual frankness but also with a high-road approach to some of the issues that plagued his team last season.
“We needed a new voice.’’ … “Avery worked too hard and tried to do it himself instead of asking for help from those around him.’’ … “(Dirk) breaks a play, it gives license to another guy to break a play, and it spirals from there.’’ … “Bad team chemistry.’’
That’s a summation of Cuban’s views of the downside of the 2007-08 season.
The upside going forward? The promise of continued contention. “I think we will be better,’’ Cuban said. “We’ll have a lot of things going for us: guys in contract years, playing hard for a new coach, a full training camp together, a new coach in a new system. … we’ll get the most from it.’’
Here’s Cuban, in more depth, on a variety of subjects:
On new coach Rick Carlisle: “He’s a smart coach. … Being flexible enough to play whatever type of offense puts us into best position to win, that will be his strength. Teaching guys to play multiple styles of offense. …Look at the players he’s had. … He’s run the best offense (suited to his talent). With Mark Jackson or Jamaal Tinsley, he shouldn’t have been run-and-gun. He’s played the right offense for his personnel, and that’s what we want him to do.
“Where Carlisle is great is as a teacher. I’m sitting in my living room (during the interview process), me, Donnie, Rick and Dirk, they’re up there working on footwork for two hours, right in my living room. I’m (eating) chips just watching. …’’
“Since he’s been in town, he’s worked every day on different aspects of guys’ games. Footwork with Josh, Jet. … guys are coming in every day and working out with Rick. To have guys come in in May shows that excitement, they see the upside Rick brings.That’ll be good for everybody.’’
On why Avery Johnson had to go: “It was more, as Avery said, was his voice being heard? That’s what it came down to. … we needed a new voice.
“Success brings it own set of challenges. In Avery’s case, when things were not going right, he worked too hard, instead of asking for help from Westy (Paul Westphal), Mario Elle, Del (Harris), those around him. Avery worked too hard try to find answers himself. Things spiraled. And then it was hard to step back to where (he) was. Everybody who goes through it learns from it. Avery will be better for it (be a better coach) next time through. … Avery will learn from the experience. We’ll look at Avery (in the future) and say he’s become a great coach. It was just hard for that to happen for him here next year.’’
On Dirk trying to do too much: “(With Kidd, Dirk played) out of his mind. Rick can make Dirk and the team a lot better. Guys were breaking plays a lot. They didn’t trust the play-calling, and Dirk was one of those guys. He just wanted to win so badly, he wanted to take over. In lot of cases, you want your superstar to just take over, because he wanted to win so badly. … (Dirk) breaks a play, it gives license to another guy to break a play, and it spirals from there. That’s trust.
“When Avery came in after Nellie, everything Avery wanted to do, guys bought into. But over that period of time, they lost trust (when Dallas lost) in Golden State. … trust in in-game changes and adjustments.’’
On handling – or midhandling -- Jason Kidd:“I’m not the basketball genius to say if we handled him perfectly or not, but the guys who had to play the game didn’t have complete confidence in the situation, and as the season wore on it got worse. … lt didn’t turn out right, put it that way, whether he was managed properly or not.’’
On his support of Josh Howard: “I wasn’t defending his comments. I was defending Josh. Do we shun Bill Walton after his ‘tune-in/tune-out moments when he was playing? Rasheed Wallace was crazy. Now he’s a crazy guy who wins championships. Different guys do different things in life, they make mistakes. I’m not throwing Josh under the bus, particularly when he realizes he made a mistake and uses it as motivation. (To do so,) that’s not good management. … (The NBA) tests for (pot). … I’m not defending (pot). Illegal is illegal. … My point is that it’s prevalent among college-age kids. So in-season, more kids in the real word get high than in the NBA and no, it’s not a problem.
“No one is saying (Josh and his pro-pot comments means) he said the right thing. Question is, ‘what do we do now. … shun him?’ What can we do to put this behind us, so five years from now, we’ll say, ‘That was boneheaded, but he learned from his mistakes, and what a great example of someone who can learn from mistakes, that’s Josh Howard.’
“From my end, I’d rather be the guy who says I was there to help Josh.’’
On the Mavs staying competitive: ”I look at us as being in the same position the Spurs were in after Ginobili fouled Dirk (in a Game 7 of the 2006 Playoffs). Everybody thought the Spurs were too old, they should break it up, but here they are again, two seasons later, with the same team, and competing to go to the Finals – and they’re an older team than we are!
“The way I look at this, this was like our Antoine Walker team: good at home, bad on the road, team chemistry was terrible. So we got rid of the (bad). … I’m not saying Avery was bad. Just a confluence of things led to bad team chemistry. If we’re able to clean it up, with the right upgrades, we’re not as far off as some people think we are.’’
On the Pau Gasol trade from Memphis to LA: “That Gasol trade was never offered to us. They told us Josh Howard or nothing, and then a week later they did something else.’’
On last summer’s Kobe trade rumors: “That Kobe thing, I wasn’t going to trade Dirk straight up. They weren’t going to do that. Anything else, I would’ve done it.’’
On Cuban’s hopeful purchase of the Chicago Cubs: “I’m certainly trying. … But it’s not going to impact (his Mavs involvement) one way or the other. The Cubs are an iconic team. But unless it’s a World Series game, if the Cubs and the Mavs play the same day, I’m at the Mavs.’’
On the idea of an NBA All-Star Game in North Texas: “I’ve always said, if we have an All-Star Game here, I would not kick out season-ticket holders (to make room) for corporate (seats). … We will talk to Jerry (Jones). It’s very, very early in the process.The All-Star Game could be at the Cowboys Stadium, but all the other events would be in Dallas. The Saturday stuff, the Slam-Dunk Contest, the skills stuff, things for kids, they’d be at the AAC. Just the All-Star Game itself would be at the different location.’’
On the way he manages the Mavs: “I could tell you, my first year half of my first summer was spent trying to trade Steve Nash, and not at my request. Then, every player, at one time or another, except for Dirk, was (subject to) a discussion of trading them up -- until Donnie was named head of personnel. … (Now), the roster moves are (by) Rick and Donnie, and the roster moves come to me when it comes time for money.’’
... written by Right Wing Republican Volunteer , May 29, 2008
Ya know, if Cuban wasn't such a yellow-bellyed, lily-livered, American soldier-hating, profit-by-lying-about-our-troops kind of a guy, I might actually like him.