Mavericks owner Mark Cuban will almost certainly face some form of discipline for criticizing referees on social media and to reporters following his team’s loss in Atlanta on Saturday. However, the NBA isn’t expected to announce a penalty for Cuban until after commissioner Adam Silver has ruled on the Mavs’ protest of Saturday’s loss, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Tim MacMahon.
“We’re going to review the matter in its totality,” NBA spokesperson Mike Bass told ESPN.
As we detailed on Sunday, the Mavs filed a protest of Saturday’s loss, arguing that officials misapplied rules on a play in the final minute of the game. The play a question saw Mavs forward Dorian Finney-Smith block a Trae Young layup attempt, with Hawks big man John Collins scoring on a putback. Initially, goaltending was called on Young’s shot, but when a replay showed the block was clean, referees allowed the follow-up basket, citing an inadvertent whistle and saying Collins was in a shooting motion before the whistle blew.
In his postgame comments, Cuban blasted not only that end-of-game call, but the NBA’s entire referee development program. As the league weighs potential discipline for Cuban, it will take into account that the Mavs owner has already been fined approximately $2MM over the years for similar comments on officiating. Silver is also expected to consider the fact that Cuban came onto the court twice during dead-ball situations near the end of Saturday’s game, per Wojnarowski and MacMahon.
Presumably, if Dallas’ protest is upheld, the NBA will be a little more lenient on Cuban. However, even though it was a tough break for the Mavs, it appeared that the rules were applied properly and it’s unlikely to meet the high bar required for the league to rule that part of a game should be replayed, in the view of John Hollinger of The Athletic.
“You’ve got better odds of seeing Boban Marjanovic on a mount in the Kentucky Derby than you do of seeing the Mavs’ protest upheld,” Hollinger wrote.
Once a protest is filed, the two teams involved have five days to submit relevant evidence to the NBA. After that five-day window, Silver has another five days to make a final ruling. Typically the process moves a little quicker than that though — when the Rockets protested a loss to the Spurs in December, the NBA denied the protest just four days later. In other words, it wouldn’t be surprising if the Mavs’ protest and Cuban’s punishment are both resolved by the end of the week.