Mark Cuban said this week that he's not expecting the newly-revamped Lakers to win a title come June. Citing the 2003-04 Lakers as his primary example, Cuban stressed that it takes "chemistry" to win a title.
"The Lakers have done this before," he continued. "Gary Payton and Karl Malone and Kobe and Shaq were all together, and it didn't work."
In an attempt to dismiss the Lakers' blockbuster acquisitions, Cuban ended up making his fears transparent as he purposely downplayed an obvious threat to his former title-contending team.
It's clearly delusional. Choosing to ignore the obvious talent of Dwight Howard and Steve Nash while devaluing the proven mettle of Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol, Cuban unmistakably showed how alarmed he is by LA's moves.
"A lot of teams do a great job of winning the summer," he went on, "but I never get so antsy about what happens over the summer. I just want to know what happens during the season."
He's right about one thing: What happens in August doesn't always reflect what happens in June. But not even Cuban's assuming confidence can overshadow the fact that LA has one scary team. Also, as evident by recent history, big moves lead to big seasons.
Cuban is a smart guy. He knows what happens when superstar players get together to form a colossal team. Recent NBA history is there to remind him.
Rewind the clocks a bit. In 2010 the Miami Heat formed a title-contending team when it added LeBron James and Chris Bosh. The Heat eventually reached to finals twice, winning it once. Three years before that, the Celtics added Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett to form a still-relevant Boston team. Just like Miami, Boston went on to the finals twice, winning it once.
Even the 2004 Lakers—the team Cuban used as an example to support his claims—serve as a constant reminder of what teams can do when given the right amount of talent. Granted, that team didn't win the title, but they did win the Pacific and Western Conference title and managed to make it to the NBA Finals.
The moral of the story is that summer blockbusters are usually enough to win a championship. If nothing else, those teams usually make it to the finals.
Cuban knows this. He knows what the Lakers are capable of, he knows the kind of talent the Lakers have, he knows they've addressed their weaknesses, he knows how good they'll be, and he surely knows his NBA history.
He won't admit it, but he fears the Lakers. He's aware that LA's moves overshadowed his own solid summer acquisitions. He's also aware of what the Lakers will likely do come June and what his very own team likely won't do.
The Lakers are a threat in the West. Even if he chooses to ignore it, the Lakers scare him; they scare everyone in the NBA. There's no need or shame in hiding it.