Fans are divided on Mark Cuban, same with national pundits. Some consider him brash and rebellious, but those same people would kill to have them own their favorite team.
Players? They love him.
Which brings us to Muggsy Bogues, your favorite 5’3” guard. You remember him, he played for 14 NBA seasons, most in Charlotte. He left the NBA in 2001 after being traded to Dallas with three years left on his NBA deal… and that is where Cuban enters the story.
Bogues spoke with SLAM and recounted what happened.
“I’ve never met Mr. Mark Cuban, but I tell people that I thank him more than life itself,” Bogues, 46, said recently over the phone from his home in Charlotte. “I had three years left on my contract when my mom passed away, and I decided it was time to move on [from basketball]. I walked away from the game with three years left on my contract. He (Cuban) could have easily just have bought me out of my contract, but he went on and honored it and paid the three years out and never looked back.”
That would be $3.6 million.
“I was never able to thank Cuban in person for that, but I do thank him,” said Bogues. “And I’m happy the Dallas Mavericks won the Championship. That’s a great organization.”
That is why Dallas is going to be good no matter what the economic system that comes in after the lockout — players want to go there because they feel treated well. They want to play for Cuban. There are only a handful or organizations around the league that players speak of in these terms (no, not the Clippers) and they will always get the key free agents. Hard cap or not.
The Detroit Pistons’ playoff dreams hinged on them being able to hang around until point guard Reggie Jackson got back from this thumb and knee injuries. They have done just that — the Pistons are 11-10 and would be the eighth seed if the playoffs started today.
And now they get Jackson back. Stan Van Gundy made the announcement Sunday at shootaround, before the team takes on the Orlando Magic.
It will take a few games to get his conditioning back, but this is huge for Detroit. Jackson running the pick-and-roll with Andre Drummond is at the heart of Detroit’s offense – the Pistons were 2.3 points per 100 possessions better with the ball in his hands. Ish Smith played well for the Pistons in his absence — 10.8 points per game, 6.4 assists, and he’s been solid. Move his playmaking to the second unit and suddenly the Pistons become a lot more dangerous.
The scouting report on Jakob Poeltl coming out of Utah said he could run the floor well and he was a good finisher around the rim.
But we didn’t expect this.
During the Raptors win Sunday against the stumbling Hawks, Poeltl filled the lane on the break, got the rock, and nobody was going to stop that finish. Least of all Tim Hardaway Jr., he just ends up in the poster.
Entering free agency last July, Hassan Whiteside said his first choice was to stay in Miami — then Pat Riley gave him 98 million reasons to stick around. While the Heat have been up and down this season, Whiteside has thrived as the franchise player in Miami.
Last July he also met with Dallas, but it turns out that was not his second choice. Here is what Whiteside told Erik Gunderson of the Miami Herald before his team fell to the Blazers on Saturday.
“Portland was my second option,” Whiteside said at the team’s Saturday shootaround in Portland. “I would have came here.”
Interesting. There were reports the Blazers chased Whiteside, but it didn’t seem that serious. Apparently, it was. If The Blazers got Whiteside, would they still have spent $70 million on Evan Turner? Probably not. And suddenly a lot of things look better in Portland.
For Blazers fans, watching their team try to outscore opponents while playing terrible defense this season — in part because of a lack of rim protection behind their undersized guards — it’s easy to imagine how much Whiteside would have changed the picture in the Northwest. But at this point, that’s just fan fiction.
JaVale McGree has become a solid contributor for the Warriors off the bench, giving them a needed shot blocking presence. He’s not getting a ton of run (seven minutes a night), but he’s efficient when he’s out there.
Still, there is his reputation as the guy most likely to end up on Shaqtin’ a Fool. He hasn’t done anything like that for a while… until Saturday night, when after a made free throw he tried to inbound the ball for the Suns for a second.
The Warriors bench was laughing under their shirts and towels.