Mark Cuban, Nate Silver, Michael Lewis, Daryl Morey, Paraag Marathe, NBA, NFL, FBN, BKN ENT

Mark Cuban: Mavericks care about chemistry – not like those Rockets


Daryl Morey, in a bout of confusion over Dwight Howard’s free agency last summer, called a bitter Mark Cuban about trading for Dirk Nowitzki.

Of course, Dallas said no, and Howard actually signed with Houston. But story showcases Morey’s approach.

He’s about assets more than emotion.

Morey allowed the narrative about declining Chandler Parsons’ team option to center on searching for a bigger star. He used Jeremy Lin’s number on a billboard for Carmelo Anthony, because Melo is that bigger star. He has allowed two stars (Howard and James Harden) who’ve publicly belittled their teammates to set the tone.

To be fair, Morey’s strategy has advantages. He doesn’t get too tied to players, and his constant tinkering has steadily improved Houston.

But the Rockets’ way is not the Mavericks’ way, and Cuban went out of his way to make sure you know that.

Cuban on KRLD-FM 105.3, as transcribed by The Dallas Morning News:

On the Rockets making inquiries on Dirk in the trade market:

“I was like, ‘Are you kidding me?’ He asked if we’d trade Dirk. At first I thought it was taunting, but now knowing more about Daryl I don’t think it was in hindsight. That’s just not his style. It says a lot about their approach more than anything else. They just have a different understanding and approach to chemistry than we do. Some teams, and that’s not just the Rockets, just put together talent and the talent takes care of itself. We think chemistry matters. When Carmelo came to visit us, there was no chance that we were going to put him in someone else’s jersey number and put it on the outside of the arena. That’s not our style.”

The Mavericks’ chemistry-focused approach also has its advantages. Nowitzki – despite receiving a larger offer from Houstonre-signed this summer. Parsons feels wanted in Dallas, too. That type of comfort can pay off on the court.

Really, blending asset collection and chemistry is the ideal framework for building a team. Both Cuban and Morey know this, but Cuban probably leans more toward the chemistry side. That’s especially valuable if his players his realize and appreciate it. So, Cuban is reminding them – at Morey’s expense, which also serves the double purpose of undermining Houston.

In emphasizing his emphasis on chemistry, Cuban is making strategic gains.

Timberwolves read mean tweets about themselves (video)

Flip Saunders, Karl-Anthony Towns, Tyus Jones
Leave a comment

The Timberwolves didn’t select the meanest tweets about these players, but credit Karl-Anthony Towns, Tyus Jones, Shabazz Muhammad and Zach LaVine for being good sports.

LeBron James: I’m healthier than a year ago


LeBron James received an injection in his back before the season.

It’s working.

Dave McMenamin of ESPN:

LeBron James now says he feels better than he did even a year ago.

“I feel better in the mornings; I feel better throughout the games; I feel better throughout the day,” James said before a Cavs shootaround Wednesday in preparation for their game against the Toronto Raptors. “It was a rough start to the season for me last year and for our team. Obviously the way we’ve been playing, a lot is predicated on my health and being able to lead these guys out on the floor and not from the sidelines.”

LeBron certainly looks healthier than he did at this point last year. He’s moving much better and giving more effort.

But comparing November to November means very little for the Cavaliers, who hope to play deep into June.

The key question: Did LeBron properly time his injection? There’s a limit on the number he can have in a year, and it takes time to recover after one. Cleveland doesn’t want LeBron to peak to early.

It’s good for the Cavs that LeBron feels better now, but his health in the playoffs remains the priority.

Report: Suns signing Bryce Cotton

Bryce Cotton
Leave a comment

Eric Bledsoe missed the Suns’ loss to the Spurs on Monday with a knee injury.

So, Phoenix is bringing in a reinforcement – Bryce Cotton.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

The Jazz waived Cotton before the season despite Dante Exum‘s injury leaving them with just two other healthy point guards. That says something about Cotton – but also Utah’s depth.

Cotton – who went undrafted out of Providence last year – is quick, varies his speed well and can leap. There’s reason to believe in his potential at age 23. But his 6-foot-1 frame limits him defensively, and he’s not much of a distributor.

Phoenix will rely on Brandon Knight and Ronnie Price at point guard if Bledsoe is unavailable. The Suns can also use fewer two-point guard lineups – giving more minutes at shooting guard to Devin Booker, Archie Goodwin and Sunny Weems.

Cotton provides insurance while Bledsoe is banged-up with what seems to be a minor injury. But he might have to show something to keep drawing an NBA paycheck once Bledsoe gets healthy.

Jimmy Butler wants Mason Plumlee to pay fine after scuffle (video)


Jimmy Butler and Mason Plumlee got into an altercation in the Bulls’ win over the Trail Blazers last night.

Plumlee lowered his head and tried to barrel through Butler’s chest on a Butler screen. Butler fell and retaliated by putting Plumlee in a leg lock, causing Plumlee to fall.

You might remember a leg lock as what Cavaliers guard Matthew Dellavedova did to Bulls forward Taj Gibson during last year’s playoffs. For all the talk then of Dellavedova being a dirty player, Butler seems particularly aggrieved after getting a technical foul, which comes with a $2,500 fine – the same penalty Dellavedova eventually received. (Plumlee got a flagrant foul.)

Butler, via Vincent Goodwill of CSN Chicago:

“He thought he was playing football for a second there,” Butler said. “Almost had to let the Fort Greene Projects out of me, Brooklyn, you know what I’m saying?”

It was said tongue in cheek considering Gibson was a few feet over and Butler wanted to draw some laughs. Gibson is a Brooklyn native and grew up in the Fort Greene Projects while Butler grew up in Tomball, Texas.

It was no laughing matter when he said he would find a way to approach Plumlee about the fine money, jokingly suggesting he would have his agent email him at “Mr. or something” and made a joke about Mike Dunleavy applauding Plumlee’s act.

Plumlee and Dunleavy are products of Duke University.

“Yeah, he cost me 2,500,” Butler said. “I’m not happy about that. Gonna ask him to pay me back and I’m not playing.”

Is that, or Or is it Dookie?

These are important questions – at least if you’re trying to turn the conversation away from your dirty play and toward your colorful quotes.