When Cuban bought the team four days into the new millennium, Dallas was 9-21 under the tutelage of Ross Perot. They finished that season 40-42.
In Cuban's time owning the Mavericks, the team has never sustained a sub-.500 record for a lengthy period of time, and up until this season, they're a combined 702-356, a winning percentage of 66.4 percent.
Not only has he been wholly dedicated to having a winning basketball team in Dallas, but he's done it without the bad taste of losing in his mouth.
Now that the Mavericks are looking like one of the league's 10 worst teams, there's a lot for Cuban to learn about running a franchise, which is quite an interesting thing to think about.
He's been extremely successful, winning an NBA championship, and overseeing the team as Dirk Nowitzki won an MVP award, Avery Johnson won Coach of the Year and Antawn Jamison and Jason Terry both won Sixth Man of the Year awards.
He was never really a part of a substantial rebuilding effort, and he's been in few situations where he's had to make an immediate, drastic change while being fully cognizant of the organization's future. He's in new territory, and it seems to be taking a toll (via Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News):
Oh, it’s killing me. It’s painful. I hate to lose.
I knew I hated to lose. Look, it’s still not as painful as losing in the playoffs. It’s not nearly as painful as 2006 [losing in the NBA Finals]. It’s not like we haven’t felt the depths before. We’ve been through bad streaks before. But we’d always gone through winning streaks first. We’d never started a season .500 and then gone through a stretch like this. So you got to put it in context.
No one’s panicking. We’re going to be opportunistic through the trade deadline. We’re not going to trade Dirk. I told Dirk we’re not going to trade Dirk. I told Dirk if I’m going through this [expletive], you’re going through it with me. He actually appreciated it.
Cuban seems to be one of the few owners who is completely upfront with what he's doing with the franchise. When he and the team let Steve Nash walk after the 2004 season, he recorded a mile-long entry on his blog.
Based on Cuban's comments, it seems obvious that Dirk isn't going to be traded. He's not a superstar player anymore, but now is not the time to have a knee-jerk reaction and start trading folks willy-nilly.
What Cuban did say, however, was that Dallas will make a deal in order to turn things around before the trade deadline:
I would say there’s a one hundred percent chance we’ll do something. There’s nobody in particular we’re looking to get off or anything. But we put ourselves in position where I’m willing to take back money. If it’s the right deal, I’ll take back everything. I don’t care. It just depends. But like I said, there’s a one hundred percent chance we’re going to look to do something.
This does make sense, as Dallas is set up with plenty of trade chips. Not only did they stock up on productive, desirable players, but they signed the majority of them to one-year, extremely tradable deals.
With Chris Kaman, Dahntay Jones, Darren Collison, Roddy Beaubois, Elton Brand, Dominique Jones, and Brandan Wright all on one-year deals, and the team less than $2 million over the salary cap, there's certainly some flexibility.
This is definitely a team to watch over the course of the next month. There might not be a huge deal on the horizon, but there's going to be something going down in Dallas.
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