The most entertaining part of Mark Cuban’s 3,000-plus-word post on blogmaverick.com might be the Superman Origins-inspired video he shared that was part of the Mavs’ Dwight Howard recruiting pitch.
Some other excerpted highlights from Cuban’s stream-of-consciousness prose:
On the post-lockout decisions: “All my thoughts on the new CBA have been well chronicled elsewhere, so i won’t revisit them here. 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. Young guys can walk into an NBA game any day of the year. Get to your mid 30s, not so much. So to bring the gang back , we would basically be losing a year. When you look at keeping together an older team and the first year after your championship is a lost year, it’s hard to justify keeping an older team together. But we were the champs. That meant a lot.
“It also meant that if we kept everyone together we would have to make do with our existing roster. We would have little room to add new players. In particular we would not be in position to add someone who could come in and be a cornerstone for our future. IMHO we would be stuck with an aging team and not be in a position to make a big impact on our roster.”
On sticking with Dirk Nowitzki: “Our culture is one of the reasons I won’t trade Dirk.
“When you turn your team upside down and try to figure out what the culture of the team is, you take the greatest risk a team can take. Dirk sets the tone for our team. He works as hard, if not harder than anyone. He helps our younger players understand what he expects and what they need to do to excel. On the court he is selfless. He would rather not have to score a point if we would win the game any way. He would rather pass the ball and let anyone else score than be forced to take the shot. Until its the time of the game where we need a point. Then he is ready to step up as often as we need it. But he knows, that his impact on a game is far more important than any averages or what appears in the box score. That mindset. That selflessness. His work ethic is something I want to be in place long after he has retired. But to do that we have to transition with him, not in a void.
“It is also the reason I believe that you don’t just blow up a team. Go back the past 10 years and look at all the teams that traded their best player. There aren’t a lot of quick trips to the finals to point to as examples.”
On trying to sign Dwight Howard: “We had hoped that Chris Paul may be available He wasn’t. So Dwight Howard was our first target once again.
“Let me address here the inevitable question of Dwight vs Mavs culture. We saw it as somewhat of a risk, but felt like because Dwight by all appearances and checking we did, is a good guy and with our support systems we believed we could make it work. if not, he was obviously a very trade-able asset. But, as everyone knows, we didn’t sign him. He went to the Rockets. 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” . Which was a perfect lead in to the video we created for him”
On the “popular” rebuilding process: “In today’s game it appears that the popular path to build a team is to put together a group of young players that you hope will develop to their full potential and potentially lose a lot of games so you have a chance to pick the next Kevin Durant, John Wall or Kyrie Irving or Blake Griffin et al.
“Then you have to do it again at least one more season , if not more, because any one of those players is not enough to win a championship. They are all great players now, but it takes time for them to develop into great players. THen you have to put the right players around them in order to become a championship contending team. This may be the exact right approach for teams to take to build a championship. You never know until you know.
“What I do know, at least what I think i have learned from my experiences in business is that when there is a rush for everyone to do the same thing, it becomes more difficult to do . Not easier. Harder. It also means that as other teams follow their lead, it creates opportunities for those who have followed a different path.
“I see quite a few teams taking what appears to be the same approach to building a team. I can understand why they are taking this approach. In the current CBA the value of a player chosen in the draft can be considerable because of the defined contract terms. And if you put together some great young players, it is very enticing to want to keep those players together for a long period.
“But I also know that even if you have the worst record in the NBA, you may not get the top pick and even if you do, there is a material chance you pick the wrong player , or it just happens to be a draft when there are not any IDENTIFIABLE superstar potential players at the top of the draft.
“In other words , while it may be popular i think the quantity of teams taking the same approach makes it more difficult to build a team in this manner.”
On the Mavs’ future: “We went out and signed what I think (I know I’m always positive about our players, but this time I’m REALLY POSITIVE [smiley face emoticon] , are a great group of players. We got players that we think fit our culture. That have a skill set that will allow us to be successful , that complement each other, fit well with Rick’s system and can be a good team
“We also feel like we have some players that will be far better on our team than they were on previous teams. I like our ability to work with what i call “fallen angels”. Players who are traded or left unsigned because everyone in the league thinks that they can only be the player they saw in another organization. We have taken players like Jason Terry, Jerry Stackhouse, Brandon Wright, Tyson Chandler and you can even say Vince Carter among others that were perceived as having this problem or that problem and had them contribute in new ways that were beyond what the “experts” expected.
“We pay less attention to what they did in their last system than what we believe they will do in our system with our group of players. We are not always successful as last year pointed out, but we have a good track record.
“If we stay healthy, I think we can have a good team. How good ? I don’t make predictions. I do believe that by having a core of players that we can grow and develop with, and cap room in the upcoming season and what we feel is the ability to develop and improve the performance of our players, we are in a good position for this year and for the future. We have been hurt by not having a core of players in place that free agents see as teammates they want to play with. THat shouldn’t be the case next year.
“In addition, because of all the financial restrictions that the new CBA puts on teams, I believe more teams are going to be blown up and the new popular approach will be adopted by more teams. Which in turn will make that approach even more difficult to be successful with. Hopefully this will create opportunities for the Mavs to add new players either via cap room or through trade that get us back in to the Finals and rewards our fans with another ring.”