After making an appearance on KESN-FM over the weekend, Mavs owner Mark Cuban once again took to the airwaves as he appeared on KRLD-FM on Tuesday afternoon. If you missed his initial appearance over the week, you can listen to it here. In his latest radio appearance (which can be heard here), Cuban further explained the team’s two-year plan, more of a behind-the-curtain look at their sales pitch to prospective free agents, what the heck is going to happen to Roddy Beaubois, and how this summer is different than last summer.
There was plenty of gold in Cuban’s comments. When there’s plenty of gold, there is only one way to tackle it.
Here is the quoteboard for Cuban’s appearance on the Ben and Skin show.
On how his summer has been: “I’ve been grinding. I keep that trophy there to remind me what the goal is. There’s no other focus right now. I’ve got 70 businesses and they all know right now is all about basketball.”
The real reason for not being a part of the pitch for Deron Williams: (Sarcastically) “You know, I’m just as upset as everybody that we’re in repeats right now (of Shark Tank). I wish we had more original episodes of Shark Tank on Friday nights. We want to be number one on Friday nights, so you’ve got to be there for them. I tried to be there for my teammates in the tank.”
Do you view this summer differently than last summer? “Absolutely. We’re further in the transition. Last year, there was a lot of internal discussion about whether or not we needed to go after the one big-name free agent knowing that we’re not going to have a lot of cap room. If we would have gotten a big-name free agent that would have taken up all of our cap room last year, we still wouldn’t have cap room this year. That’s why we did all of the one-year deals so we would have the option knowing that there were more free agents, not just the big names but other good players that are coming out. It’s just different now because we have cap room this year and we’ll have more cap room next year. You start to have some continuity in the players you can sign, whether you can get the big name or not, and you have more flexibility going into next year.”
Shifting away from one-year deals and not going down that path again: “Last year, we knew that we would be able to have some cap room continuity between this year and next year because obviously Dirk’s contract comes up after next year, (Shawn Marion’s) contract comes up after this coming year so that just changes all of the math. Now we want to start building a team that has some continuity.
“Rather than being just one year in maximizing all of our flexibility going forward like we did this past season, we want to be able to say if we get the big name, we’re not going to have a lot of other cap space and it’ll be a two-year deal. If we don’t get the big name, we want to start building that base of a team that can start having some continuity of playing together.
“In the event that we need some extra cap room, the way the new CBA enables things with a new deal that is signed post CBA we have the option to stretch them. In the event we need some cap room for whatever reason, we can take a contract and release them and stretch the contract out to minimize the cap hit.
“We just have a lot more flexibility. Again, there are no absolutes or no certainties, but I just think we’re in a completely different position than we were last year. Last year we really tried to buy time because we didn’t think Dirk would be hurt, obviously. We wanted to get some of our younger guys some better experience.”
Do you have a feel for what Roddy Beaubois will be as a player? “No (laughter), it is really hard to say. Is he Kurt Thomas back in the day and he turns out to be one of the tougher guys going forward? Kurt Thomas, when he was back with the Mavs back in 1723, he was actually a coach for the Mavs because he broke his foot so many times that he couldn’t be on the court. You just never know. There’s uncertainty, but Roddy really wants to work hard and come back. We’re certainly going to talk to him. We’re going to see what our options are.”
How do you feel at this current moment? “I’m really excited. I’m the most competitive person ever … During the season, like anybody else, all I can do is watch, support, be there and help. During the offseason is when I get to grind, where I can really get to work and try to create an advantage. We’ve really changed our organization quite a bit when it comes to talent evaluation. We’re adding people left and right, people that are out there scouring for dirt and information about NBA players and college prospects.
“We’re doing things that we really didn’t do in the past because we never had a decent draft pick. We’re really trying to up our game from an analytics perspective, from a visualization perspective, from a scouting perspective, from a work out perspective. If I spend two, three, four or five million dollars in adding new people per season, that’s nothing if it makes our draft pick better. We’re really working hard … There’s just a bunch of things we’re doing in the basketball operations that we’re hoping will make us smarter with our basketball decisions.”
Is it difficult to transfer analytics from college basketball to the pros? “It’s hard to transfer analytics from college to pro. If it’s a tossup, you look to the analytics. That’s one of the reasons we drafted Jae Crowder. It was a tossup between a couple of guys and when we looked to the analytics, the analytics said we should go with him. We think Jae is going to be a great player.”
How do you go big game fishing or make you decision on which big fish you’re going to pursue? “Basically, the first one that says yes; whatever you catch first. We’re going to be everywhere. We’re not going to be the only one hunting for the big free agents so it’s going to get scheduled … The guys who are really impactful players and are good players want to look for the best situation, from not only a financial perspective but also a team perspective and a team strategy perspective. They want to see where things are going with the organization. We’ve got a good track record and we’ve got an organization that is well respected. It’s not about who talks to them first.”
Can they acquire two big fish this summer? “Yeah, it’s possible, but we’re not in a position where we can pull it off. It would be really, really tough. We would have to trade guys to teams with cap room, and we’d also have to send along future first round picks.”
On if he thinks big fish are willing to take a pay cut in order to help build a better team? “There’s definitely some of that, particularly with an interesting free agency class next year and you don’t know who is going to opt in and opt out. There are certain guys that are looking to see if they can recruit guys and if they have cap room next year. Yeah, that’s always a possibility.
“That’s why you go meet with them and discuss certain strategy. You don’t sit in these meetings and say this is what we can pay you. Are you in or are you out? They know what you can pay them and they know what they’re options are.”
Dirk as a selling point to potential suitors: “Dirk has been around so long that everyone knows who he is. They know Dirk and have a general understanding, but they want to see it laid out as it applies to them. It’s not so much of a, what is in it for me kind of thing, but they want to see the progression of if they come and what is going to happen. We’ll lay it all out and try to convince them that we’ll create a better situation for you. We’ll give you more resources and tools to succeed than other teams will.”
How involved is Rick Carlisle in this free agency process? “Rick is such a good coach that he adapts to the players. The way we were two years ago is different than the way we were last year. He’ll make whatever we have work. We certainly talk and we have those discussions all of the time.”
Is it hard to have confidence in the sales pitch? “You just never know. All it takes is one thing in a guy’s mind that makes the decision go against us … It’s like any decision that we make in our personal lives … Every guy has their own thing. We’re just going to try to present ours in the most positive way. We’ll try to show them that we think from training staff, medical staff, analytics, support staff, team psych doctor, out of every tool, we spend more than any team with off-court stuff so that we can put you in a position to succeed.”
How do you evaluate the guys beyond the big fish? “I think we could put together a hell of a team by getting two, three or four of those guys. That’s part of the decision making process, too.”
Would they be four-year contract guys? “Yeah, in order to help build the team. The challenge is that there’s something to be said for having a superstar. There’s something to be said for having a good compliment of players at some point. If you can get the compliment of players today, we can do what we did in the past and that’s trade, hustle to get other guys that can potentially be superstars.”
Who do you want to win in the Finals if it is between the Spurs and the Heat? “I hate the Heat. I’d rather have a Texas team win.”
Taking all the current free agents and assuming they don’t come back, what is your biggest need if you’re only left with Dirk, Marion, Carter and the rookies from last year’s draft? “Point guard and center.”
Do you envision being able to fill both of those needs? “Yeah, it just depends on what hits. Is it one of the bigger free agents? At that point, we have the $2.5 million exception and minimums available. If one of the big names doesn’t hit, we’ll have plenty of cap room to go out and balance out the team and get some good players.”
Based on discussion, re centers available via trade that would interest you? “I would say yes. Again, they’re not first-NBA type centers, but they’re the type of centers that you would say are good, serviceable and can contribute.”
Bryan Gutierrez writes about sportsmen. He also attended Ball So Hard University, studying ideologies of Clark Kent. You can follow him on Twitter @BallinWithBryan.