The Mavericks are in turmoil. Heading into the home stretch of the NBA season, the club has an 18-40 record and is on pace for its worst showing since going 20-62 in 1997/98. Off the court, Mark Cuban‘s public comments on tanking earned him a staggering $600K fine from the NBA. Both of those issues are on the back burner, however, as the club has moved to respond to a Sports Illustrated report that alleges widespread misconduct within the Mavs’ business offices.
The organization has hired outside counsel to conduct an independent investigation into the allegations in SI’s report and into the team’s workplace in general — that investigation is already underway, per Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News, who tweets that it could take about a month.
According to Jeff Zillgitt and Michael Singer of USA Today, the NBA will be privy to all findings in that independent report. Legal expert Michael McCann notes at SI.com that the league could also opt to proceed with its own investigation if it’s at all uncomfortable with the Mavs paying a firm for an “independent” investigation.
As McCann writes, the NBA’s constitution gives Adam Silver latitude to severely punish any team owner or employee guilty of “conduct prejudicial or detrimental” to the league, but it remains to be seen how hard Silver will come down on Cuban and the Mavs. While Cuban is unlikely to face the same fate as former Clippers owner Donald Sterling, a major suspension and/or fine seems possible.
After rounding up a few Mavs notes on Wednesday night, we’ve got more to pass along today. Let’s dive in…
- As Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News relays, Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle and longtime star Dirk Nowitzki addressed the Sports Illustrated report for the first time on Wednesday. Nowitzki called the allegations “disgusting” and “heartbreaking,” while Carlisle said that “no steps will be skipped” in the investigation. On a separate note, Carlisle also said that Mark Cuban has “apologized profusely” for his tanking comments.
- As the investigation gets underway, there are still many unanswered questions surrounding the Mavericks and Cuban, Sefko writes in another article for The Dallas Morning News.
- While it seems somewhat inconsequential compared to the off-court issues facing the Mavs, the team still has some burning questions to answer on the court during the final two months of the season. According to Sefko, one of those questions will be whether Nerlens Noel will have a regular role the rest of the way, and whether he has any long-term future in Dallas. Carlisle said today that Noel is on track to return from his hand injury as early as Friday (Twitter link via Sefko).da