With the season dead and gone for the Mavs, exit interviews are the next item of the docket. Mark Cuban is not one who usually participates in the exit interview process, though he was in the building saying goodbye to the team.
As always, he’s one who isn’t shy to speak to the media. Prior to the team’s season finale against the then New Orleans Hornets, he spoke to the media about figurative dating, O.J. Mayo, the pain of the season and what will happen going forward.
Here is Mark Cuban’s “exit interview” quoteboard.
Looking into the future: “There’s no point in trying to make predictions or talk specifics now. Everything is still a variable. We’ll look at everything and do our best.”
Importance on winning tonight to finish without a losing record: “It is and it isn’t. It’s important just because it’s nice to say, but we’re still going home after tonight, so it really doesn’t matter. I want to win for the fans. I want to win for the guys. I want to win because I always want to win. I don’t want to make this into something to make it sound important. It is what it is.”
On if he read Carlisle’s comments about O.J. Mayo: “I didn’t read it. That’s what coaches do.”
Does he want O.J. back? “We’re not going into anything. We’re going to re-evaluate everything. OJ has definitely done a lot of good things for us, last game excluded. We’re going to go through and re-evaluate everything. I’m not going to go into evaluations of individual players. That’s a set up.”
On the biggest disappointment for the season: “There were so many disappointments I can’t even begin to count. If you went back through and looked at all the games we gave away, we’d be a 50-plus-win team if we won half of them. We always talked in the past how the Mavs always won close games. This was the ultimate reversion to the mean. It was ridiculous, but that was yesterday. We gave away more games than probably in all 12 or 13 years I’ve been here combined.”
On if it hurts to realize that: “It just is what it is. You can’t change it now. You just get fired up to go to work and make sure it doesn’t happen again. You can’t dwell, you can’t get mad. I’ve already broken up with this season, probably a game too early. I’ve already started the seven steps of recovery. I’ve been mad, and I’ll move forward. After tonight, it’s time to start looking forward to dating a new season. It’s been tough. It was definitely the date from hell.”
What they’ll do this offseason: “We’re doing a lot of things that we think that will make us better on the player evaluation side that we’re not going to talk about but we’re investing in.”
Literally waking up with the computer and falling asleep with the computer this summer: “That’s literal. I mean, there’s times where I’ve got to do other stuff. Trust me, I can tell you pretty much the plus/minus, the advanced plus/minus, the win shares, the wins produced, the on-and-off court stuff for just about anybody in the league who has played more than 20 minutes a game.”
On letting fans know that he’s committed about this offseason: “If they don’t know by now that I’m doing everything I can, they’re never going to know.”
Any satisfaction about getting back to .500: “No because even getting back to .500, we f—– up another 10 games. We should have been a whole better. There’s just no satisfaction about this season whatsoever. None. I mean, it’s nice to see some of the rookies play. I’d say a lot of promise is knowing that we’ve got some guys from the draft that will be NBA players. So, I’m looking forward to see how much they improve over the summer and how much they work.”
On the importance of this summer: “They’re all big. Like I said, we’ve come in last every year but one and I haven’t been satisfied in any of those years. We’ll just move on.”
Message to the fans: “We’re going to do everything possible to get back to where we need to be. We’ll do a lot of communicating with fans once the free agency period gets started. We’ll try to be as transparent as possible, within competitive reason.”
What game signaled that there was trouble? “About eight games in, whenever we played Charlotte. Just how it went down, just the mental breakdowns. It is one thing to get beat, but it’s another thing to beat yourself because of doing something stupid. There are some things that we should have been aware of that honestly I thought we could change. There was some things that we thought we knew that were shortcomings that we thought we could fix.”
Does the last impression make more of an impact than the first impression? “No. You don’t ignore 81 and just look at 82.”
How difficult would it be to create more cap space than you have? “There’s a thousand ways. Other than the couple of contracts we have, any of the new contracts you can stretch. There’s trades, there’s working with players to opt out and give them long term deals. There’s a lot of different ways to do it.”
Did you think you were a good enough defensive team? “Not good enough. I thought we’d have to be better offensively. I didn’t look us and say we’re a defensive juggernaut. I just think we weren’t as smart as we needed to be on either side of the ball. I knew we were going to have to score more and depend on our defense because we had a lot of scoring weapons.”
The mindset for the summer: “I’m not going to go into particulars. We’re going to be opportunistic and try to improve the team. I don’t see us signing just one-year deals anymore. I think we want to grab on to some people to be part of a longer term solution and see what happens.”
Was it a mistake to go with one-year deals this year? “No, not at all. The Jazz are playing with a ton. We won a championship with a ton of last year guys. There are a lot of teams that do it. It wasn’t the contracts, guys played hard. We just didn’t play well together. Like I said before, the basketball IQ wasn’t where it needed to be. It wasn’t about contracts.”
Does the space that will free up after next summer allow you to take that approach to take longer deals? “It just depends. We’re not going to make a financial commitment just to make a financial commitment and say look at what we did. If there’s nobody there to sign that helps us, we won’t sign anybody and we’ll tell everybody exactly why we did what we did and deal with the consequences. We think there will be at least some guys there that we think that can help us in one way or another, and we’ll see who they are and we’ll see what we can do. There’s no point on April 17 trying to determine what we’re going to do on July 1. The only certainty in predicting like that is that you’re going to be wrong, so why predict? I’m trying to give you the signal and not the noise. I can give you plenty of noise, if you want.”
Bryan Gutierrez writes about sportsmen. He is a contributing writer for Mavs.com. Bryan also attended Ball So Hard University. You can follow him on Twitter @BallinWithBryan.