Mark Cuban went through a spell during the Mavs’ championship run in 2011 where he was as quiet as we’ve ever heard him. He made no headlines, said no controversial things and didn’t even get fined by the NBA. He’s making up for lost time this summer. Recently, not only did he say Jason Kidd wouldn’t get his jersey retired in Dallas anytime soon, but also that Dirk Nowitzki has better job security than Barney Stinson. After declaring Dallas nearly traded for Kobe Bryant while Cuban was practicing for Dancing With The Stars, Cuban is now saying he believes his squad is better off without Deron Williams. We’ve heard some good rationalizations for bad situations, but this one is definitely up there. The Mavs blew up a championship team last summer to ink a batch of players to one-year deals so they could be ready to bring Williams home. Now it hasn’t happened, they scrambled to pick up the pieces, and Cuban is left to face the heat for failing. As a guest on the Ben and Skin Show on 103.3 [KESN-FM], the Dallas owner said it comes down to finances. Dirk is still owed $43 million over the next two years, and Shawn Marion is on the books for $17 million-plus as well. Add in a max contract to one of the best point guards in the game (Rajon Rondo, stop shaking your head) and you have three players making around $45 million for just next year. It makes sense to be hesitant (especially with the heightened luxury tax penalties coming soon), until you recall Cuban using this excuse the past two summers in an effort to tell the team’s fans “wait ’til next year.” What happened to this dude? He went from throwing crazy money at people like Erick Dampier to admitting it’s a good thing the team didn’t sign a potential franchise cornerstone (and a guy who told us over the summer that he EXPECTED he was going to end up in Big D). He’s like the college grad who just got hit with his loans, and is now freaking out about getting a job and won’t spend more than $20 on a lunch date. We can’t fault his reasoning, but we’re sure Dallas fans can find a way. What we CAN fault is his approach. What’s more worth it: spending around $14 million on a combination of say, O.J. Mayo, Darren Collison and Chris Kaman, or spending it on perhaps the best lead guard in the game, and someone who will anchor your whole team once Dirk is gone? If this summer has shown us anything between the NBA Finals and the Lakers’ middle finger to the whole league, it’s this: you get the superstars, and talk money issues later … By the way, which point guard is Cuban going to take aim at next? … And did you check out the video we posted yesterday of Anthony Davis dunking over a cardboard cutout of Skip Bayless? He kicked him while he was down too. That was cold, Ant … Keep reading to hear about what Blake Griffin is going to have when he comes back next season …
After San Antonio embarrassed the Clippers in the second round of the playoffs last year, it’s on Blake Griffin to make the next step. It appears like he wants to, hiring a shooting coach for the summer to hopefully work out that heinous hitch in his shot that keeps giving us terrible visions of Anthony Mason. Griffin was on The Champs podcast (hat tip to Beckley Mason of TrueHoop), and said he realigned his shot so that defenders must respect him out to 15-17 feet. They even made it through the initial phase when you switch up your habits and everything goes horribly. One day, it clicks and you start seeing progress. That’s where Griffin was… until he hurt his knee with Team USA. Now, he thinks he might need to re-learn it all again … When does potential turn into reality? Is there a specific year? After five years, can a player still have potential? What about six? Seven? Someone should ask Byron Scott because he told the Cleveland Plain Dealer part of the reason the Cavs went after C.J. Miles is because the lefty has a lot of “untapped” basketball left in him. Miles played seven years in Utah, and he’s now 25 years old. He is what he is, just the same as J.R. Smith, Nick Young and every other player leaving something on the table is. If they haven’t reached all that “potential” they have by now, then they never will. Even Jermaine O’Neal, one of the latest bloomers we’ve seen since Diane Lane, came to Indiana and turned it up when he was still just 22 (And it should be noted he never ever had an opportunity in Portland. He hadn’t shown anything.). But everyone feels like they’ll be the ones to nurse that talent out. How do you think Darko keeps getting jobs? Milicic is a project who acts like a baby and basically admitted in the past he doesn’t even really like basketball, and yet a few management people in the league will still give him an opportunity based on what he could become (even at 27) instead of what he is (a 7-foot bum). Miles is a decent role player who can get you 15-20 points on a really good night. But he’s not developing into some consistent 20-point scorer … And in this age of Twitter and social media, it’s almost surprising when this happens, but for once, a player found out about a trade hours in advance of the talks actually going down. Rod Thorn, Philly’s GM, called Andre Iguodala while the player was in London and told him he was going to Denver before it went through the league office. CSNPhilly.com reports Iggy handled it well, especially after he learned he was a major piece in a deal for the second-best center in the entire league (big ego boost right there). He spent portions of the last three years beneath a cloud of trade rumors, so Iguodala has to be ecstatic about going to Denver. In fact, we haven’t heard a negative thing from anyone involved in that deal. When was the last time that happened in the NBA? … We’re out like Skip’s post defense.
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