Mark Cuban supports NBA blocking Chris Paul trade
Never one to shy away from controversial matters, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban stuck his nose in a subject that will surely irk Laker fans.
This time, it involves something more serious than just describing Phil Jackson as Jeanie Buss' "boy toy." In an interview with ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM, Cuban defended NBA Commissioner David Stern for blocking a three-team trade that would've sent New Orleans Hornets guard Chris Paul to the Lakers.
"The message is we went through this lockout for a reason," Cuban said. "Again, I'm not speaking for Stern. He's not telling me his thought process. I'm just telling you my perspective, having gone through all this. There's a reason that we went through this lockout, and one of the reasons is to give small-market teams the ability to keep their stars and the ability to compete."
Considering the Mavericks' hefty payroll, Cuban's commentary predictably reeks of of hypocrisy. In fairness, Cuban protested when the NBA-owned Hornets traded guard Marcus Thornton and cash last season to the Sacramento Kings for forward Carl Landry. But if Cuban had tried to acquire Paul, and Stern had blocked it, the Mavericks owner would've cried conspiracy theories despite any hefty fines thrown his way.
If the NBA were truly serious about ensuring competitive balance, it would've ensured instituting various measures, such as a hard cap or unlimited maximum salaries. That would've given more players incentive to stay with teams for the long run, even if it's a small-market team.
"I wouldn't have been happy, but I would have understood because it was a conversation a lot of owners had long before the Laker deal was consummated," Cuban said. "It was like, 'Look, sure, I'd love him. Give [Paul] to me in a heartbeat.' But the whole idea of the lockout was to prevent stuff like that.
"Players will always have the right to choose what they want to do as a free agent, but the players agreed to rules that said, 'You know what? Let's give the home team, the incumbent team, an extra advantage.' And that's how the rules were designed. I think they're going to work."
Obviously in Paul's case, the rules aren't working.
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Photo: NBA owners like the Dallas Mavericks' Mark Cuban, left, and Commissioner David Stern came out big winners with the tentative agreement to end the NBA lockout. Credit: LM Otero / Associated Press