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Cuban wants players willing to make the sacrifice

In professional sports, there is the everlasting battle between the fans who want to see winning no matter the cost and the businessmen behind the game wanting to make money.

Perhaps no one is more torn between those two sides than Mark Cuban, as he essentially is both. This is a guy, after all, that bough the Mavericks in 2000 simply because he attended Opening Night that season and was fed up with how the franchise was run.

For the first 11 years, Cuban spent whatever it took. He went more than $150 million in the red trying to get a championship, and it finally paid off in 2011. Then, he suddenly began talking about things like financial flexibility as key elements of that title team walked away.

A turncoat attitude from someone who always looked to be one of us? Or just a smart businessman who realized the game had now changed?

Let’s not kid ourselves in thinking Cuban never cared about money. This was a guy who sold out-of-town newspapers during a local writers strike as a kid, sold out of the Internet industry right before the bubble burst and started up movie and TV enterprises to weather the financial storm from his team. But when the NBA forced new labor rules down his throat following that title run, the smart businessman in him realized he had to change his attitude to try and make the franchise stable.

But maybe in that desire, Cuban has always unlocked the secret to building a team capable of winning in this age as well.

Earlier in the week, after Dirk Nowitzki and Devin Harris agreed to re-up with the Mavs for less than market value, Cuban laid down the edict: No max deals for his team. You have to think that’s what pretty much eliminated the Mavs from the Carmelo Anthony Sweepstakes. If that’s the case, good riddance.

I’m not the type that is completely against the amount of money athletes make; we force it due to our demands of winning. But history, in just about every sport, has show there is almost an inverse correlation between those that go for the money and those that want to win more than anything.

Even the Miami Heat and The Great Superteam Experiment didn’t prove to be that great. Yes, Lebron and Co. managed two championships, but they were also humiliated twice in the Finals and would have lost three times if Greg Popovich hadn’t lost his mind in 2013 Game Six and decided resting Tim Duncan was more important. Now, it’s looking like that team could very well break up, perhaps due to Miami ownership realizing keeping them intact won’t make financial sense.

The NBA still might not have a hard cap, but tripling its luxury tax virtually done that by making the penalties for going over much more harsh. This has led to the attitude of teams thinking they need to do whatever it takes to land that one big fish in the free agent pool that can carry them and then just find pieces to place around him.

What has been the result in this albeit short period? Not much success. The Nets and Deron Williams are a mess that Jason Kidd did whatever it took to get out of there. The Rockets and Dwight Howard were embarrassed by Portland in the first round.

The going philosophy has been that the key to landing the big free agent prize is making sure you have good enough players already to make the team attractive to the big fish. But if you have that, where will the cap space come from to sign that guy?

Exactly. Telling everyone else to take a salary hit so you can give a max deal to one guy, who likely hadn’t won much the last place he was, seems counterproductive to a team concept when you think about it.

Cuban knows this. That’s why he’s not interested in anyone, regardless of talent, who is demanding the maximum offer.

The Mavericks are only interested in players willing to take the financial sacrifice to be a part of their coaches system and aid their own franchise player, believing that such a team-oriented attitude will win out in the end.

After all, that’s what’s worked in San Antonio, right?

Ugh, I think I just threw up in my mouth from saying that.


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