In an exclusive interview with FOX Sports, Mavs owner Mark Cuban is responding to some incendiary comments from his superstar Dirk Nowitzki regarding the club’s future and it’s plan to acquire a “big fish.”
“Dirk,” Cuban tells us, “gets annoyed with our team every year. He uses his annoyance as motivation… Dirk gets upset when we go through a tough period. Always has.”
Cuban’s plan to pursue financial flexibility amidst a changing NBA landscape seems to be drawing more criticism than ever, especially as the memories of the club’s 2011 NBA championship fade and the realities of waiting on another run plague this 13-22 team on a nightly basis.
Since Cuban’s decision of almost 13 months ago to react to the new CBA by not re-signing Tyson Chandler and others, Dallas is 49-52 in the regular season and has not won a playoff game since Game 6 of the 2011 Finals.
“It’s going to be tough now,” Nowitzki was heard to say on KESN over the weekend. “I always liked to think you don’t want to build your franchise on hope.”
Nowitzki also said, “Maybe Cuban has something up his sleeve. Maybe you have to take a chance on a bad contract to get him in here and make something happen. I mean, I don’t know.”
In fact, Nowitzki is quite in tune with what his management is trying to do — and has long had the ear of his owner.
“If you only knew the things he has said to me during recent seasons about our team,” Cuban joked. “I’m glad I didn’t listen!”
The issue now is whether free-agent superstars will listen to future Cuban pitches.
“We hoped for Deron last year,” Nowitzki said in the interview. “We hoped for Dwight. Why would he leave the Lakers? To me, it makes no sense. He’s in a great situation. Why would CP3 leave? (The Los Angeles Clippers are) the best team in the league probably right now. They’re probably the deepest team. So are you going to hope that we get something?”
Nowitzki even mentioned the words “trade me,” which have been taken wildly out of context.
“We knew that coming in, that eight or nine new guys on one-year deals is not really an ideal situation, but what else is there to do?” he said. “So either you break the whole thing up and trade me, or you get a bunch of one-year deals and try to be a player next summer. That’s the decision we made, so now we’ve got to fight through it.”
Trying to clarify, he added, “The only reason I would leave — or would have left — is if we wouldn’t have won the championship, and I would have been like a Karl Malone and [Gary] Payton going to join Kobe and Shaq in L.A. like they did at the end. But now I’ve got a ring and obviously want to finish my career here. But I also want to be competitive.”
Yes, those comments can be read as being rather incendiary . . .
“That’s Dirk,” Cuban said. “Dirk’s mad. Everybody’s mad. No one on this team, including Dirk, should be happy with the way we are playing. I know I’m not.”
Indeed, maybe the real “scoop” comes on the day when Dirk Nowitzki isn’t unhappy with a 13-22 Mavs team.