Mark Cuban tried to just spend his way to an NBA title. It didn’t work. It rarely does in the NBA — you need an elite player or two, but you can’t just go Steinbrenner and try to buy all the talent in the world to go around them. You need the right kind of role players and a system they fit in.
Cuban figured that out and Dallas won a title in 2011 — then promptly broke up that roster post lockout to try and rebuild a winner. Cuban knew if he just overpaid that roster to stay together he may well not win another title (Oklahoma City was on the rise and the Heat would improve) and he would be paying a lot of money for an inflexible roster.
“That’s exactly right,” Cuban said Wednesday night. “You get stuck. That’s exactly what I thought. … That was definitely a fear.”
However, it’s not necessarily the money that concerned Cuban. Rather, it’s the difficulty of improving a roster as a team paying the luxury tax under the current set of rules that led him to bid farewell to key championship pieces such as Tyson Chandler, J.J. Barea and current Nets guard Jason Terry.
“Those two go hand in hand,” Cuban said. “If we were [a team full of 25-year-olds], the massive luxury tax bill is nothing. But when you know as you get older, you get stuck. … It’s not just that you’re stuck for a week or a half a season, you’re stuck. Now that the rules got even more stringent, you’re even more stuck.”
He’s right but the fact he got to take a little dig at Mikhail Prokhorov was something Cuban couldn’t quite pass up.
Cuban’s plan to recruit a superstar to go next to Dirk Nowitzki hasn’t panned out so far, but he has the flexibility to do it. Cuban also recognized that his 2011 team came together perfectly at just the right time — a feat that was not likely to happen again. He got his ring with that group, he had to move on.
It’s just that moving on to something better sometimes takes time.