Not much has gone right for the Dallas Mavericks since their 2011 NBA championship. After letting Tyson Chandler and a few other key contributors from that team leave in free agency, the Mavs slipped back into the middle of the pack in the Western Conference.
The idea was to turn the salary cap space they saved into one of the NBA's premier free agents, particularly Deron Williams, Chris Paul or Dwight Howard. Dallas went 0-3, raising doubts about the wisdom of breaking apart one of the NBA's best teams in the first place.
On Saturday night, Mark Cuban wrote a lengthy article on his personal website explaining what happened. There's a lot of interesting stuff there, even for non-Mavs fans.
For starters, Cuban thought there was a "90 percent chance" the lockout would cancel the 2012-13 season:
As one of the owners on the committee negotiating the CBA I honestly felt that there was a 90pct chance there would not be a season. Sitting in those meetings it was as if both sides lived in two alternate universes that never intersected. As it turns out I was wrong. 3am one morning after being told that there was no real chance of a settlement, there was a settlement.
Regardless, he figured that the Mavs were doomed in a lockout-shortened season, given how old the team was:
But what we have not discussed publicly was our concern of bringing back an older team in a shortened season. We basically saw the 2011-12 season as a throw away no matter who we signed. With out the time to prepare and get their bodies ready, throwing a team with with an older starting lineup right into the fire was going to be tough.
He also comes down hard on tanking for draft picks, which has become a big issue headed into what's expected to be a loaded 2014 draft:
The week I bought the Mavs I was asked by Nellie if I wanted to bag the season in order to get the best draft pick that we could. My response was "No. At some point this franchise has to learn how to win and develop a culture of winning. You don't create that culture by tanking the season. I don't know how many games we can win, but we are going to try to win every one of them."
He talks a little about the Dwight Howard chase, including some epic unintentional comedy at the end:
I do have to say the meeting with Dwight was very interesting. He is a smart guy. Much smarter than people give him credit for. He is also a very, very good listener. Unlike most people, he spent far more time listening than talking. And he had the best response to an opening question that I have ever heard from a player, or anyone for that matter. When we asked him what his goal was, his response was very specific " I want to be Epic" .
Isn't that the most Dwight Howard answer ever? I'm going to use it in my next job interview.
As a Mavs fan, I appreciate Cuban's willingness to be upfront. However, I'd rather he not have made the mistakes that necessitated the article in the first place.
All in all, it's about as up-close a look at how the sausage is made in the NBA as you are going to get.