The Brooklyn Nets are facing a must-win game against their crosstown rivals, the New York Knicks. Both teams have disappointed this season, but one thing is certain: These two teams have nothing to do with Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.
But Cuban has never shied away from discussing matters that don't pertain to him, so he was more than happy to answer questions about the Nets' current roster crunch.
According to Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com, Cuban was looking to avoid the Nets' current situation—too many injury-plagued old players in decline clogging up the salary cap for the foreseeable future—when he let Tyson Chandler, J.J. Barea and current Net Jason Terry walk away following the Mavericks' 2011 NBA championship.
"If we were [a team full of 25-year-olds], the massive luxury tax bill is nothing," Cuban said. "But when you know as you get older, you get stuck. ... It's not just that you're stuck for a week or a half a season, you're stuck."
But Cuban didn't stop at merely waxing philosophical on the Mavs' salary-cap situation. He also took a swipe at the Nets and their preseason hype, comparing them to last season's underwhelming L.A. Lakers team.
"It was almost like the Lakers, right?" Cuban said, referring to last season's heavily hyped Los Angeles team after its summer acquisitions of Howard and Steve Nash. "It was just preordained, a super team, and it's just tough. We went into last season thinking the Lakers [would be great]. The discussion was, would they win 70 games? Super teams are tough, particularly as guys get older. Again, they could still turn it all around. It's just not easy."
Asked if he had any advice for [Nets owner Mikhail] Prokhorov, Cuban cracked, "Drink more? I don't know."
Of course, it's difficult to mention any Mark Cuban comment without double-checking his lengthy list of personal beefs and vendettas. Cuban has exchanged heated words with just about every big-name figure in the NBA. Is there anyone in the Nets organization who might have inspired Cuban's apparent sense of schadenfreude?
As it turns out, Cuban indeed has a bit of negative history with the Nets organization, particularly Brooklyn head coach Jason Kidd. After Kidd, who helped lead the Mavs to the 2011 NBA title, left Dallas for the New York Knicks in the 2012 offseason, Cuban went on the radio to air his grievances.
Per Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News, Cuban told the Ben and Skin show on 103.3 [KESN-FM] that he was angry and wouldn't consider retiring Kidd's number because of the way Kidd handled his departure. "“It hurt my feelings, period," Cuban admitted, "because I thought that we had developed a relationship and I thought [Kidd] was committed to the organization."
In November, when Kidd earned a $50,000 fine from the league for spilling a drink on the floor, Cuban didn't take long to make light of the situation via his Twitter account.
It sure seems like Cuban still has an axe to grind against the Nets head coach. But that doesn't make his statements about the Nets perilous roster situation any less accurate.
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