Mark Cuban

Cuban Says Mavs Tried To Land Tyrese Haliburton In 2020 Draft

Appearing on Patrick Beverley‘s podcast, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said Dallas did everything it could to trade up for Tyrese Haliburton in the 2020 draft (Twitter video link).

ESPN’s Tim MacMahon reported last year that Dallas attempted to move up ahead of 2020’s draft in order to land Haliburton, offering the Knicks Jalen Brunson, the No. 18 overall pick (Josh Green) and the No. 31 overall pick (Tyrell Terry) for No. 8 overall that year. The Mavs were unable to find a taker, including the Knicks, who selected Obi Toppin at No. 8.

Interestingly, both Haliburton — who fell to Sacramento at No. 12 — and Toppin now play for the Pacers, while Brunson joined the Knicks in free agency last summer.

It’s noteworthy that Cuban essentially confirmed MacMahon’s report, and the fact that he specifically mentioned Haliburton by name means the Mavs could face a penalty for tampering. The NBA often hands out fines when team executives publicly express any sort of praise or fondness for a rival player.

Cuban also noted that Dallas was coached by Rick Carlisle in 2020, who rejoined the Pacers the following year after parting ways with Dallas. Indiana subsequently traded for Haliburton at the 2022 deadline — about eight months after Carlisle was hired.

An All-Star for the first time in 2022/23, Haliburton averaged 20.7 PPG, 10.4 APG, 3.4 RPG and 1.6 SPG on a stellar .490/.400/.871 shooting line in 56 games (33.6 MPG) for Indiana. The 23-year-old signed a five-year, rookie scale max extension with the Pacers this offseason, so he’s under contract until 2029 (the extension starts in ’24/25).

Haliburton and Brunson are currently competing for Team USA at the 2023 World Cup. Green is also at the World Cup playing for the Australian national team, which has clinched a spot in the 2024 Olympics. The Mavs reportedly opened rookie scale extension talks with the 22-year-old wing a couple weeks ago.

Mavs Notes: Elimination, Draft Pick, Luka, THJ, Kyrie

Entering the day on Friday, the Mavericks could still have secured a play-in spot if they’d won their last two games of the season and the Thunder lost to Memphis on Sunday. However, Dallas essentially decided to throw in the towel on its chase for a postseason berth, sitting a number of regulars (including Kyrie Irving) and limiting Luka Doncic to essentially a quarter of action.

Unsurprisingly, the Mavericks did indeed lose their game to Chicago, officially eliminating them from the play-in hunt. As Tim MacMahon of ESPN writes, head coach Jason Kidd told reporters before the game that the decision was made by team owner Mark Cuban and general manager Nico Harrison.

“We were fighting for our lives, and understanding this is a situation we’re in, but the organization has made the decision to change,” Kidd said. “So, you know, we have to go by that and that’s something that happens. So the guys that are playing, we got to go out there and put our best foot forward, and we talked about that this afternoon.”

Speaking after the game, Kidd said that the move was less about “waving the white flag” and more about prioritizing the future.

“It’s decisions sometimes are hard in this business,” he said, per MacMahon. “We’re trying to build a championship team. With this decision, this is maybe a step back. But hopefully it leads to going forward.”

Asked if he agreed with the decision to prioritize the future instead of the present by sitting players on Friday, Kidd replied, “Those are my bosses, so yes.”

Kidd confirmed after Friday’s loss that Doncic and Irving definitely won’t be playing in Sunday’s regular season finale, with other regulars likely to join them on the sidelines (Twitter link via Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News).

Here’s more on the Mavs:

  • As Tim Cato of The Athletic observes, one more loss on Sunday would ensure that the Mavericks finish with sole control of the NBA’s 10th-worst record. That would give them approximately an 80% chance of hanging onto the top-10 protected first-round pick they owe the Knicks — there would be about a 20% chance of a team near the bottom of the lottery standings leapfrogging them and pushing them out of the top 10, in which case they’d have to send the pick to New York.
  • Within a separate story about what’s next in Dallas, MacMahon says there’s a “strong sense of urgency” to expedite the process of building a contender around Doncic. Team sources have admitted there’s concern that Luka could request a trade as soon as the summer of 2024 if Dallas doesn’t take a significant step forward by then, MacMahon reports.
  • Appearing on The Carton Show on FS1 (Twitter video link), Tim Hardaway Sr. said that Doncic and Irving aren’t leaders, and referred to Doncic as a “crybaby” due to his frequent in-game complaints to referees. As Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News writes, Mavericks wing Tim Hardaway Jr. asked to speak to reporters in order to distance himself from those comments. “I disagree with it 1000%,” the younger Hardaway said, stressing that his views both Doncic and Irving as good leaders. “… It’s disappointing that I have to come out here and say (this). I love him to death, like I said, my dad. He made a mistake. It’s his opinion, not mine. We’re two different human beings, so that’s really all I can say.”
  • In the most recent episode of the Hoop Collective podcast, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, Tim Bontemps, and MacMahon discussed Irving’s upcoming free agency, debating whether or not Kyrie holds most of the leverage as he enters free agency (hat tip to RealGM). MacMahon and Bontemps believe Irving is in a good position to command a long-term maximum-salary deal from the Mavs, while Windhorst questioned whether there are any teams that will have the cap flexibility and the desire to make a play for Kyrie and put pressure on Dallas.

Mavs’ Cuban Talks Irving, Wood, Brunson, Kidd, Doncic, More

Speaking to the media ahead of Wednesday’s game against Sacramento, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban touched on a number of topics.

Cuban said the team acquired guard Kyrie Irving at the February trade deadline with the goal of keeping him around “long term,” as veteran reporter Marc Stein relays (Twitter links). Cuban added he thought the Mavs had “a good shot” at retaining Irving, who will be an unrestricted free agent in the offseason.

When asked if he thought Irving was worth a maximum-salary contract, Cuban replied, “I’m not going to negotiate with you,” tweets ESPN’s Tim MacMahon. The longtime owner said re-signing Irving is the team’s top offseason priority, but was noncommittal on big man Christian Wood, another potential free agent.

I’m not going to go through individual players,” Cuban said, per MacMahon (Twitter link).

Both of the Mavericks’ star guards — Luka Doncic and Irving — will be available for Wednesday’s game, the team announced (via Twitter).

Here’s more from Cuban’s media session:

  • Cuban claims the Mavs “never had the opportunity” to give former guard Jalen Brunson a four-year, $56MM extension in January 2022, tweets Stein. Dallas’ owner went on to explain that Brunson’s camp was looking for a deal in the range of $18-23MM annually in early February 2022, but the Mavs could only offer him $14MM per year due to the limitations on veteran extensions, according to Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News (Twitter links). As ESPN’s Bobby Marks notes (via Twitter), the Mavs technically could have given him a deal in the $18-23MM range after the 2022 trade deadline, when Brunson was eligible to renegotiate his contract, but they would have had to clear $25MM+ in salaries in order to do so.
  • As for last summer, when Brunson signed a four-year, $104MM contract with the Knicks, Cuban claims Brunson’s side never gave the Mavs a number he would accept, per Townsend (Twitter links). The Mavs had Brunson’s Bird rights, so they theoretically could have offered him more years and more money than a rival team. Cuban added that he had a strong relationship with Brunson and his agents, but “things went south” when Brunson’s father, Rick, took over the contract negotiations (Twitter link via MacMahon).
  • It seems odd that Rick Brunson was ever in charge of negotiations, considering he was finalizing a deal to be an assistant coach with the Knicks on June 2, and free agents couldn’t sign until June 30. The elder Brunson previously worked under Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau in Minnesota, but resigned from the Wolves after allegations of improper conduct toward women, which he and his lawyer denied.
  • Cuban’s tone regarding the Brunson situation was markedly different last summer, notes Fred Katz of The Athletic (via Twitter). Last July, a week after Jalen Brunson signed with the Knicks, Cuban said he had “no hard feelings” about Brunson leaving and that the guard had “earned the right to make a decision as a free agent” (link via Zach Braziller of The New York Post).
  • According to Townsend (Twitter links), Cuban took responsibility for the Mavs’ poor season and for not recognizing they needed more help defensively, as the team has dropped from seventh to 23rd in defensive rating. “It’s absolutely my fault for not recognizing that,” he said. Cuban also said that the team plans to bring back head coach Jason Kidd next season.
  • Cuban, who has owned the team since 2000, said he believes Doncic wants to spend his entire NBA career with the Mavs, “but we have to earn that” (Twitter link via MacMahon). Doncic has expressed frustration and disappointment with how the season has gone and recently said he missed Jalen Brunson “a lot.”

Mavericks To Protest Loss To Warriors

The Mavericks plan to file an official protest with the league office after tonight’s 127-125 loss to the Warriors, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

The protest is in response to an alleged officiating error late in the third quarter that led to an uncontested basket for Golden State (video link from The Athletic). All five Dallas players were on the opposite side of the court as the Warriors inbounded the ball, resulting in an easy dunk for Kevon Looney.

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban provided an explanation of the play (via Twitter), claiming the referees informed his team that it would have the ball after a stoppage in play.

“For those wondering about the play with 1:54 to go on the 3rd, let me explain what happened,” Cuban wrote. “The ref called Mavs ball. The announcer announced it. Then there was a timeout. During the time out the official changed the call and never told us. Then when they saw us line up as if it were our ball, he just gave the ball to the Warriors. Never said a word to us. They got an easy basketball. Crazy that it would matter in a 2 point game. Worst officiating non call mistake possibly in the history of the NBA. All they had to do was tell us and they didn’t.”

Mavericks coach Jason Kidd also addressed the play in his post-game press conference, claiming that officials didn’t handle the situation properly (Twitter link from Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News).

“If there’s confusion, it’s easy to just come in and blow the whistle and get us restarted,” Kidd said. “Because it was confusion. Understanding that we thought it was our ball, the referee pointed towards our bench. That was the signal of the timeout, but there was confusion on the play before it even started with whose ball it was because he pointed, I thought, to us first. Then he changed it and then went to a timeout, and pointed to us.”

In a tweet from the league, crew chief Sean Wright explained why officials handled the play the way they did.

“Initially on the floor the original signal was in fact Golden State ball as this can be seen on video,” Wright said.  “There is a second signal but that signal is for a mandatory timeout that was due to the Mavs.”

Under NBA rules, notice of the protest must be submitted to the commissioner’s office within 48 hours of the end of the game. Both teams will have five days to submit evidence to the NBA after the protest is filed, and commissioner Adam Silver will then have an additional five days to make a ruling.

No team has been successful in protesting a game since 2008, notes NBA writer Marc Stein (Twitter link).

Southwest Notes: Irving, Doncic, Brooks, Popovich

Before he took the court for his first game with the Mavericks Wednesday night, Kyrie Irving talked to reporters about what went wrong in Brooklyn, writes Joe Vardon of The Athletic. Irving said there were times he felt “very disrespected” by the Nets during his tumultuous three and a half years with the organization. He admitted he was at an impasse with the team in extension negotiations and claimed he wasn’t “getting transparency and honesty from people in the front office.”

“I worked extremely hard at what I do,” Irving said. “No one ever talks about my work ethic though. Everyone talks about what I’m doing off the floor. So I just wanted to change that narrative, write my own story.”

Irving’s off-court behavior dominated the headlines during his time in Brooklyn, highlighted by his inability to play for much of last season due to his refusal to get the COVID-19 vaccine and his suspension in November for his online promotion of an antisemitic film. Irving added that he wishes he had done more research on the Nets’ front office before he and Kevin Durant opted to sign with the team in 2019.

“I left them in fourth place — I did what I was supposed to do,” he said. “I took care of my teammates, was incredibly, incredibly selfless. And in my approach to leading, I just want to do all the right things for myself, not to appease anybody.”

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • It didn’t take long for Irving to impress his new Mavericks coaches and teammates, notes Tim MacMahon of ESPN. With Luka Doncic missing his third straight game due to a right heel contusion, Irving delivered 24 points and five assists in a road win against the Clippers. “That’s how talented he is,” head coach Jason Kidd said. “He makes things look easy. He works on his craft. He’s a pro, up for any challenge.”
  • Mavericks owner Mark Cuban expressed confidence that Irving and Doncic can work together despite both being ball-dominant guards and said Doncic was fully on board with making the trade, per Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News. “Go for it. We need talent,” Cuban responded when asked about Doncic’s stance on the deal. “He’s a Hall of Fame player, and I’d love to play with talent. Why would you not want to play with him?”
  • Dillon Brooks‘ teammates came to his defense after he was booed by the home crowd Tuesday in the midst of a bad shooting night, according to Mark Giannotto of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. Brooks’ combination of erratic offense and tenacious defense makes him a polarizing player among Grizzlies fans, creating a difficult decision for general manager Zach Kleiman on whether to try to trade him before today’s deadline.
  • The Spurs made one significant trade late Wednesday night, sending Jakob Poeltl to the Raptors, and longtime coach Gregg Popovich said he has confidence in general manager Brian Wright’s ability to reshape the team, writes Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News.

Jason Kidd: Irving’s Talents Needed For Championship Run

Coach Jason Kidd brushed off criticism of the Mavericks’ acquisition of Kyrie Irving, saying that the team now has a much better shot at winning a title, ESPN’s Tim MacMahon writes.

“We feel that the talent and his abilities to make us better are something that we needed,” Kidd said. “We feel that getting him is going to help put us in a position to win a championship.”

The deal with the Nets became official earlier today. Irving flew to Dallas on Monday and could make his Mavericks debut on Wednesday against the Clippers. He won’t play with new backcourt partner Luka Doncic immediately, however. Doncic will remain sidelined on Wednesday by a heel contusion, according to the Dallas Morning News’ Callie Caplan.

Once the duo takes the court together, Kidd expects the Mavs to be even more dangerous than they were last year when Doncic and Jalen Brunson led the team to the Western Conference Finals, Caplan writes.

“He’s played with the best players in the world, and he’s had success doing that,” Kidd said of Irving. “To give Luka an opportunity to come down the court without having to dribble or run every play, this gives us an opportunity to do different things. We look back at when we had [Jalen Brunson], being able to have a playmaker like that. When you look at Ky — nothing against JB — but Ky is at a different level, so this gives us another weapon. Someone’s going to be free. Someone’s going to have the advantage.”

Kidd doesn’t seem too concerned about Irving’s past issues and unpredictable moods. Irving idolized Kidd growing up and they developed a friendship while sharing a personal trainer, Robin Pound. Irving also attended Kidd’s Hall of Fame induction.

“He’s all about basketball,” Kidd said. “He wants to win, and he wants to be coached, and this is a great opportunity for me to have someone like this to help.”

Kidd also predicts that Doncic will benefit from not having to bear such a heavy burden. Doncic’s usage rate is highest among all NBA guards.

“It’s going to come down. And that’s a healthy thing. It’s not a bad thing. … Actually, he’ll be stronger in the fourth (quarter),” Kidd said. “The team will be better. Then the trust between the two — it’s going to take some time to get that rhythm and trust, but Kai is about winning.”

Dallas owner Mark Cuban also feels the team is much more dangerous offensively with the addition of Irving, Caplan reports in a separate story. Cuban believes that will override the loss of defensive ace Dorian Finney-Smith, who was part of Dallas’ package.

“They are the two players in the NBA that are most able to get anywhere they want on the court,” Cuban said. “They can create their own shots and finish every which way. That should make us incredibly potent on the offensive end. And while it’s going to be tough to fill Dorian’s shoes defensively, we think Josh (Green) will be able to step in and take advantage of the increased minutes he will be getting.”

Cuban: Luka Hasn’t Asked For Roster Changes

Within a larger feature about the career paths of 2018 lottery picks Luka Doncic and Trae Young, ESPN’s Tim MacMahon cites sources who say Doncic has “strongly indicated” that he wants the Mavericks to upgrade their roster ahead of the February 9 trade deadline.

However, Mavs owner Mark Cuban denies that’s the case.

Tim MacMahon got it dead wrong. Luka has never suggested, asked, demanded or discussed changes to the roster,” Cuban said in a statement (Twitter links via MacMahon). “Luka and (president of basketball operations) Nico (Harrison) have a great relationship. They talk almost daily. Luka knows exactly what we have going on and is very supportive.”

Doncic has been carrying a significant load in Dallas this season. He has a career-high 38.2% usage rate and leads the NBA with 33.8 points per game.

Christian Wood has emerged as a consistent second scorer, and role players like Spencer Dinwiddie and Tim Hardaway Jr. are having solid seasons, but the team has missed last season’s second-leading scorer, Jalen Brunson, and could use more reinforcements to make a real run at a title.

Still, while reports in the past have indicated that the Mavs’ front office keeps Doncic apprised of potential roster moves, he hasn’t yet exhibited a strong desire to be involved in those decisions, as MacMahon notes. He also stated during the preseason that he didn’t believe Dallas needed another All-Star caliber player to be a contender, telling Malika Andrews that “we have a great team.”

Perhaps Doncic’s workload this season and the team’s up-and-down first half has prompted him to be proactive in conveying his desire for roster upgrades, but if Cuban is to be believed, the All-NBA guard isn’t pushing for changes.

Although Doncic has three more guaranteed years on his contract left after this one, the Mavs are likely still feeling a sense of urgency to build a strong roster around him, since we’ve seen star players request trades with multiple seasons left on their contracts in recent years. There’s no indication that Doncic has considered or will consider taking that route, but it will be a subplot to keep in mind if Dallas is unable to make another deep postseason run in the next year or two.

Mavs Notes: Doncic, Cuban, Wood, Green, Finney-Smith

Mavericks star Luka Doncic, who outdueled LeBron James in double overtime on Thursday night, is leading the NBA with 34.3 points per game this season and recently became the sixth-youngest player in league history to surpass the 8,000-point mark for his career.

With James on track to supplant Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the NBA’s all-time leading scorer later this season, could Doncic be a candidate to eventually take that record from LeBron? When Tim MacMahon of ESPN approached him to discuss that possibility, Doncic shut down the conversation before it even started.

“If you’re saying me, there’s no way, because I’m not playing that much,” Doncic said.

As MacMahon notes, it’s the second time recently that Doncic has suggested he doesn’t necessarily envision himself spending enough time in the NBA to challenge for those sorts of career records. He said something similar when responding to a comment made by Dirk Nowitzki about the possibility of Luka matching Dirk’s record of 21 seasons with a single franchise.

“I don’t know about 20 years,” Doncic said. “That’s a long time to play basketball. I’d rather go back to my farm in Slovenia.”

Here’s more on the Mavs:

  • Team owner Mark Cuban may be facing a fine from the NBA after complaining on Twitter about the whistle in Thursday night’s win over the Lakers. “Stan Van Gundy is absolutely right,” Cuban tweeted, referring to comments the analyst made on TNT’s broadcast. “Worst officiated game. Luka gets no respect. Unreal.”
  • In a Q&A with Mark Medina of, Mavericks big man Christian Wood spoke about his relationship with Doncic, the Mavs’ championship potential, how he dealt with coming off the bench to start the season, and his desire to make an All-Star team, among other topics.
  • Mavericks wing Josh Green has been out since December 9 due to a sprained right elbow, but his return appears to be around the corner. On Wednesday, he went through a full practice and scrimmaged for the first time since the injury, per Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News and MacMahon (Twitter links).
  • Green sounds closer to a return than forward Dorian Finney-Smith, who has been sidelined since December 19 with a right adductor strain. Finney-Smith is making progress and doing some on-court work, but hasn’t yet been cleared to practice, tweets Townsend.

Southwest Notes: Mavericks, Doncic, Wood, Rockets, Vassell

The Mavericks will play a preseason game next fall in the UAE capital of Abu Dhabi, Marc Stein reports in a Substack story.

Dallas will also play a game against perennial Spanish League power Real Madrid during the overseas journey. Mavericks owner Mark Cuban wanted to arrange a preseason game in Madrid for Luka Doncic, who played for Real Madrid until he became an NBA lottery selection.

We have more from the Southwest Division:

Southwest Notes: Brooks, Mavs, Wesley, Bassey

The Grizzlies blew out the Bucks by 41 points on Thursday night, holding stars Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton to 22 total points on a combined 6-of-25 shooting. After guarding Middleton for much of the night, Grizzlies wing Dillon Brooks was asked if he ought to be in the conversation for Defensive Player of the Year and replied that he “100%” should be, according to Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal (Twitter link).

“I don’t get the steals or the big-time blocks, but I’m going to give fits to whoever I got that night,” Brooks said.

Defensive Player of the Year voting typically favors big men, so if a Grizzlies player receives serious consideration for the award, it might end up being Jaren Jackson Jr., who is averaging 3.3 blocks per game. Still, Jackson has missed some time and it’s Brooks who is tied for third in the league in’s defensive win shares stat at 3.8.

Let’s round up a few more Southwest notes…

  • Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has grand ambitions for a new arena in Dallas if the state of Texas legalizes gambling and sports betting, writes Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News (subscription required). “My goal, and we’d partner with Las Vegas Sands, is when we build a new arena it’ll be in the middle of a resort and casino,” Cuban told Townsend. “That’s the mission.”
  • Spurs rookie guard Blake Wesley will be available on Friday for the Austin Spurs’ game in Mexico City, tweets Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News. A knee injury has sidelined Wesley since October 30 and limited him to just two NBA appearances so far this season, but it sounds like he has been cleared to return.
  • Waived by Philadelphia during the preseason, Charles Bassey made his first career start on Wednesday for the Spurs and admitted after the game that he was “a little bit” nervous. As Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News (subscription required) details, Bassey got into early foul trouble and mishandled a couple passes from Doug McDermott in the pick-and-roll. “He just flat-out dropped a few of them; he told me that,” McDermott said. “I told him, ‘I am going to continue to throw it to you, because you are setting great screens. You are either going to have a shot or you are going to have a dunk. So don’t overthink it.'”