Instead of traveling to New York with head coach Rick Carlisle and president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson to sell free agent All-Star point guard Deron Williams on teaming with Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks, team owner Mark Cuban was in Los Angeles, filming an episode of his TV show “Shark Tank.”
Williams eventually chose to remain with the Brooklyn Nets and the Mavs were left scrambling. Well, not according to Cuban.
The Mavericks owner said Tuesday that the team is actually better off with Williams not on the roster.
“In hindsight, I don’t know if I would have been happy,” Cuban, a guest on the Ben and Skin Show on 103.3 [KESN-FM], said of the possibility of inking Williams to a long-term, maximum contract. “I think we’re in better position now then we would’ve been if we’d gotten him.”
“I don’t want to pick on Deron Williams because he’s a great, great, great, great player, so it’s not necessarily him per se,” Cuban said. “Obviously the decision was to go for him. But the conversation was, ‘OK, once you take $17.1 million in salary to what we have with Dirk and [Shawn Marion], then what do you do?’ That’s your squad. And it’s not just your squad for this year, it’s your squad for next year, other than the $3.3 million mini mid-level [exception].
“So, that was a challenge that we had because we want to win. Everybody talks about Dirk’s window, but not only would it have been difficult to add players, it also would have been difficult to trade players. In reality, that was the same problem that Deron had. Because he looked and saw the same thing and said, ‘Now what are you going to do?'”
In regards to not attending the final face-to-face July meeting with Williams, Cuban said: “Obviously, I had a conflict, but I was texting him. I was texting him. We were going back and forth quite a bit.”
Could Cuban have made a difference had he attended the meeting?
“Maybe,” he responded. “You know, because I always think I can close the sale.”