Longtime Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo was a Maverick for a day on Tuesday, but only ceremonially. According to Todd Archer of ESPN.com, Mavs owner Mark Cuban initially intended to formally sign Romo to a contract and perhaps even get him into last night’s game, suggesting he was willing to accept a fine from the NBA to do so. However, commissioner Adam Silver nixed that idea, telling Cuban that such a contract wouldn’t be honored, per Archer.
“Signing him and stuff like that, would have been too much for a lot of reasons,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle acknowledged after the game. “No. 1, he’s a football athlete that’s not ready to play in an NBA game. That’s very risky. No. 2, to sign a guy with all of our requirements from a physical standpoint with the hours and hours of screening and all that kinds of other stuff, it just wasn’t worth going there. And that’s not really what this is about.”
Carlisle didn’t get into it, but formally signing and playing Romo may have also been viewed as a sign of disrespect toward players more deserving of a spot on an NBA roster, particularly those who have been playing well for the Mavericks’ D-League affiliate all season long.
Even though the Mavs didn’t officially sign Romo, he participated in the team’s Tuesday shootaround and was in uniform for the game, with the franchise honoring him for his 14 years with the Cowboys and his support of the Mavs over the years. The move was panned by some observers, but Cuban dismissed those criticisms, as Archer details.
“Anybody who thinks a layup line is disrespectful hasn’t watched an NBA game,” Cuban said. “We’ve got people shooting half-court shots at every break, we’ve got kids for ball boys … We’re entertainment. And if they’re so self-important they can’t recognize that, it’s on them. Not me.”
Ultimately, rather than signing Romo with the open roster spot on their 15-man squad, the Mavs used the slot to claim DeAndre Liggins off waivers from the Cavaliers. Liggins’ contract includes a team option for 2017/18, so he could stick with Dallas through the summer.