The Dallas Mavericks quietly pulled off one of the biggest coups of free agency so far, landing both DeAndre Jordan and Wesley Matthews. But if there’s one thing Mavs owner Mark Cuban doesn’t know how to do, it’s how to stay quiet. Though both players have reportedly agreed to contracts, the league-wide moratorium on officially signing free agents doesn’t end until July 9, and organizations are prohibited from publicly discussing any pending deals until that time.
But that didn’t stop Cuban from going on a Fox Sports radio show last Friday to talk about Dallas’ new acquisitions, which according to ESPN’s Marc Stein, resulted in a $25,000 fine, the first such fine commissioner Adam Silver has levied against Cuban during his tenure.
Here’s more of what Cuban had to say about Jordan on The Dan and Bob Show:
“We see him [Jordan] as ‘Shaq-like’ but never having been given the opportunity,” Cuban told the radio show. “We told him if he came to the Mavs, he would be a focal point. He would grow into being a franchise player.”
“We told him that you’re capable of being a 20-20 guy,” Cuban told the radio show. “You’re just not being given the opportunity.”
Cuban went onto discuss the issue of Matthews’ Achilles injury and subsequent recovery:
“We’re not putting a timetable on it,” Cuban said Friday on KTCK-AM 1310. “Like I told Wes, if he opens up with camp, great. If he starts the season, great. If he misses 30 games, great. I don’t care because we didn’t sign him for this year.”
“The goal isn’t to try to rush them,” Cuban said. “It’s really to get them all healthy, which we know we can, and have them playing together and be something special for a lot of years as opposed to being worrying about the first 30 games of this season.”
Needless to say, there are giant question marks attached to both of these signings. It’s debatable whether Jordan is, in fact, capable of evolving into a low-post scoring threat, given that he’s shown minimal offensive proficiency during his career so far. It seems more likely that the Mavs have simply acquired a younger version of Tyson Chandler, a big who can play defense and catch lobs, which of course isn’t a bad thing. But if they’re honestly counting on him to carry a significant portion of the offensive load as a future franchise cornerstone, then they might be setting themselves up for disappointment.
Matthews is a different story. They’re rolling the dice on whether he’ll ever be the same player again after that Achilles injury, but the good news is that, at 28, he’s still relatively young. As a spot-up perimeter shooter, his game is tailor-made for the pace-and-space era of the NBA and not predicated on being a slasher or an explosive athlete. But if he loses some of that lateral quickness, he might never be the same elite-level defender he’s been during his career up to this point.
Cuban knows all this, of course, and a $25,000 for talking about it on air is chump change for him. But the signings themselves are a bet that could potentially cost him much more in the future.