Mark Cuban Says Mavericks 'Did Everything Possible' to Tank at End of Season

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMay 17, 2017

DALLAS, TX - APRIL 11:  Former NFL quarterback Tony Romo #9 of the Dallas Cowboys sits with Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks during a game against the Denver Nuggets at American Airlines Center on April 11, 2017 in Dallas, Texas.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban admitted Wednesday the franchise tried to lose games after being eliminated from contention for the 2017 NBA playoffs.

The Dan Patrick Show passed along comments the outspoken Mavs owner made about the idea of tanking after the team landed the ninth overall pick in the draft lottery Tuesday night:

Dallas finished the regular season with the league's ninth-worst record after posting a 2-8 record over its final 10 games. It missed the Western Conference playoffs by eight games.

In November, ESPN's Tim MacMahon noted Cuban didn't believe tanking entire seasons in an effort to accumulate a series of high draft picks was a formula for long-term success.

"There are so many teams that became four years away from four years away because guys just learned how to lose," he said. "They stopped caring about any individual game and just got used to it, and you don't want guys developing those bad habits. We have so many young guys on this team, we want the games to mean something. Not to be, 'OK, who are we going to pull in the fourth quarter so we can lose this game?' That's not how teams develop good habits."

The bottom line is the current setup leaves little incentive for teams to win games after the postseason is no longer a realistic goal. Changing the lottery format and odds only does so much because being closer to the bottom is still an advantage in the end.

Steve Aschburner of NBA.com noted commissioner Adam Silver called tanking "a different kind of resting," referring to the league's problem of coaches sitting high-profile players for nationally televised games, and said the look is treating it seriously.

"The larger subject of the lottery, the odds for the lottery, how so-called lottery picks are protected [in trades]," he said. "That is something that we discussed at our board meeting and agreed that we need to revisit it in a holistic way."

One idea that's been brought forth in the NHL amid several teams openly plotting to lose for a shot at top prospects is the "Gold Plan," which Patrick also mentioned to Cuban in their interview. It suggests placing teams in the draft order based on the number of points, or in the NBA's case wins, after they are mathematically out of playoff contention.

Cuban, though, believes teams would simply try to get eliminated from the playoffs earlier and expressed belief that the current system doesn't have a better solution as of yet.

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