The rest of the league surely prefers when the Los Angeles Lakers field a poor team; they just aren’t as up front about it as Mark Cuban. Speaking on the “The Fred Roggin Show” of L.A.’s Beast 980, the Dallas Mavericks owner said that he hopes the purple-and-gold “suck forever.”
“As far as the Lakers,” Cuban said, “I think there are going to be a lot of teams that are going to be focusing and saying, ‘Look, I’ve got a ton of cap room, free agents A, B and C, why don’t you guys come together and come play for me?’ And L.A. has always been considered a destination, so maybe they feel there’s a valid strategy. You know me, Fred. Personally, I just hope they suck forever…”
“I don’t know, I don’t care, I just hope they suck,” he said then. “You know, like any other team.”
But how do you really feel, Mark?
Cuban has less reason to despise the Lakers than most all other long-time Western Conference owners. In his 14 full seasons with the Mavericks, Cuban’s team has never been eliminated by Los Angeles in the playoffs despite advancing to the postseason in all but one of those years. It was Dallas, actually, that ended the Lakers’ hopes of a three-peat and began their precipitous decline by sweeping the two-time reigning champs in 2011 en route to a title of its own.
Lack of head-to-head competition not withstanding, of course Cuban hopes Los Angeles continues to struggle. Not only are they the league’s preeminent free agent destination, but the Lakers have been on the winning side of landmark trades on several occasions throughout NBA history. It’s better for Dallas – always active come summer, by the way – if L.A. is in the conference cellar.
Plus, it’s not like other teams lose money when the Lakers are among basketball’s worst teams. Their following and markets are unparalleled. Barring a seismic and impossibly sudden shift to its prestige, Los Angeles will always be a payer in revenue sharing.
The Lakers losing games and helping the league make money? Win-win.
Other owners understand it, too. They just aren’t as comfortable stirring the pot as Cuban.
Do you hope the Lakers suck forever?
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