By Brad Townsend / Reporter
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6:15 PM on Sat., May. 5, 2012 |
Just like last postseason, Mark Cuban had refrained from commenting during the Oklahoma City series _ until Saturday evening, prior to Game 4 at American Airlines Center.
First of all, Cuban hasn't given up on the idea of winning this series, even though no NBA team has ever rallied from a 3-0 deficit. When Cuban saw Shawn Marion in the locker room tonight, he said, "Somebody's got to make history, right?"
Then Cuban agreed to take questions while working out on his Stairmaster. He said he understands why, emotionally, fans are disappointed that Mavericks management didn't bring back last season's NBA championship team intact. But Cuban reiterated his season-long stance that he and vice president of operations Donnie Nelson put together the best team they could under the guidelines of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.
"I've heard some of the talking headless (media), and all I can tell you is, within the collective bargaining agreement we did everything possible to put the best possible team on the court," he said. "Period. End of story. If someone wants to read it (the CBA) and tell me otherwise, go ahead. But it's like I said, I think we've got a good team. One bounce, one break and we're talking about we had one bad game like we had in Portland last year and we're still up 2-1."
So he has not had any second thoughts about not offering Tyson Chandler a multi-year contract in December, or taking the same approach with departing free agents J.J. Barea, DeShawn Stevenson and Caron Butler.
"Hell no," Cuban said. "Nope. Not even a millisecond. Because those who are talking otherwise haven't read the CBA and are just talking out their (expletive) without any foundation. But that's what you guys do.
"Given what happened, I think we put together a damn good team. If we had one break, one call, one bounce, we're having a completely different conversation and you're thinking how smart we are instead of how stupid we are."
Clearly, Cuban believes the biggest culprit in the Mavericks' bumpy defense of the NBA title is the CBA.
"If you want to nail me for something, I'll be the first to admit that it was a huge (expletive) that I didn't fight for the new (CBA) harder," Cuban said. "I said it before, I'll say it again. It put us and other teams in a bad spot, and it was an overnight handshake deal that I should have fought harder. I'm the first to say that.
"That was my mistake, because once that thing passed, our hands were tied in a lot of respects. But within that, we did the best we could. And we're not out of it yet."
Cuban has chastised media members for not taking the time to read and fully understand the new CBA before forming opinions, and he reiterated that disappointment Saturday.
Cuban pointed out that the Mavericks were under the luxury tax threashold before they agreed to acquire Lamar Odom from the Lakers. He said all of the roster decisions were based on trying to defend the title with the best team possible while keeping salary cap flexibility moving forward.
"We went through it every which way we could and tried to figure out the best way to be successful," Cuban said. "Given what happened, I think we put together a damn good team. Like I said, one break, one call, one bounce, we're having a completely different conversation and you're thinking how smart we are instead of saying how stupid we are."