"I'm probably not supposed to say this, but, like, I just had dinner with a bunch of our guys the other night, and here we are, you know, we weren't competing for the playoffs. I was like, 'Look, losing is our best option. [Commissioner] Adam [Silver] would hate hearing that, but I at least sat down and I explained it to them. And I explained what our plans were going to be this summer, that we're not going to tank again. This was, like, a year-and-a-half tanking, and that was too brutal for me. But being transparent, I think that's the key to being kind of a players owner and having stability."
The Mavericks own the league's third-worst record at 18-40 and have no realistic path to the playoffs, so losing to improve their odds in the draft lottery is the best avenue toward future success.
Tanking has appeared to become more common in recent years across the big four American sports as more front offices realize getting stuck in the middle is the worst possible result. The best outcomes are seriously competing for titles or accumulating high draft picks.
The trend isn't likely to change thanks to MLB's Houston Astros, the reigning World Series champions who are gearing up for a potential dynasty thanks to talent gathered during three straight 100-loss seasons (2011-13).
It's the second consecutive year Cuban has openly admitted to tanking. He made similar comments during an appearance on The Dan Patrick Show last May:
The difference this season, however, is he seems to have publicly disclosed a conversation with players about a preference to lose games. It's unclear whether that would lead to discipline from the NBA.
While the NBA Board of Governors approved changes to the draft lottery for 2019, giving the bottom three teams the same odds rather than giving the worst franchise the best shot at the No. 1 pick, there is no change for 2018, which will create a fight toward 30th place over the next few months.