The Mavericks are as messy as they’ve been since the 90’s when they spent virtually the entirety of the decade as the worst team in basketball.
On Monday, an article was released that states there is growing tension in their front office between GM Donnie Nelson, Mark Cuban, head coach Rick Carlisle and analytics guru Haralabos Voulgaris. That same day Mark Cuban states that the article is simply “total bullshit.”
Less than 48 hours later, it’s announced that Donnie Nelson would no longer be GM after 24 years of service for the organization.
24 hours later after that, Rick Carlisle announces he is stepping down as head coach after 13 seasons.
So maybe the article wasn’t total BS?
There are two people who look bad after all of this: Voulgaris for being by all accounts an arrogant person with no people skills. Then Mark Cuban for creating all of this mess in the first place.
The shimmer is finally off of Mark Cuban when it comes to being thought of as an elite owner. It’s been off in the eyes of plenty for years and years for various reasons, but this mess certainly did the trick for me.
On “The Lowe Post” podcast on Thursday, ESPN’s Tim MacMahon stated that Cuban virtually acts as the team’s GM with everyone else in actual front office roles serves as an advisor with varying levels of influence, a la Jerry Jones with the Cowboys just minus the actual title of general manager. We all know how things have gone for the Cowboys over the last 25 years.
I don’t think the Mavericks are headed for a Cowboys-like run to futility, though one could argue they’re almost halfway there with it being ten years since their last playoff series victory, but it’s definitely time for Mark Cuban to stop in his tracks and have a moment of self-reflection.
Has what he has been doing worked for the last ten years? What about over the last week? It has been an absolute disaster. You do have a once-in-a-generation level superstar in Luka Doncic, so it can’t be all bad. If you keep up the Jerry Jones-level ego trip, however, you might not have him for as long as you think.
I’m not suggesting that Luka Doncic will be requesting a trade tomorrow or even a year from now, but this place being a circus in the front office is not going to be a good look for a guy who just wants to have the best chance to win each time he steps on the court.
Ultimately, it’s not like this team cannot win a championship with Cuban as the owner. We’ve seen it happen before and it was 11 years into his tenure. Cuban was instrumental in this franchise’s ascent to where it is now compared to when he purchased it. Unfortunately, he appears to be holding it back right now. This isn’t permanent by any means, but it definitely will require a level of humbleness that we haven’t seen from Cuban very often.
He’s in the wrong here. He needs to do what it takes to fix it.
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