It’s vintage Mark Cuban.
Most owners, when asked about the new power structure at the top of the Lakers’ basketball operations with Magic Johnson and now GM Rob Pelinka, would give some banal quote about “wishing them the best of luck” and just move along. Not Cuban. He wants to say something incendiary, or at least something to stir the pot. So before the Lakers took on the Mavericks Wednesday night Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News/Orange County Register asked Cuban about the new guys in charge of the Lakers, and he didn’t disappoint.
“I hope they fail miserably. I hope they fail horrifically,” Cuban said. “I hope Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka go down as the worst GM/President combination in the history of GM/President combinations. But I hope they live wonderful lives.”
That is what most other owners/GMs think but do not say. It’s not personal, they generally like the people they deal with and talks between GMs often begin with talk about wives and children and things off the court. But when it comes to business, this is a competition and they want them to fail.
Same with the Buss family turmoil.
“The worse it is, the better for me,” Cuban said before the Lakers-Mavericks game on Tuesday at American Airlines Center. “There’s no NBA thing involved. We survived the other franchise going through some hell that didn’t begin to rival what may be going on. The more turmoil with 29 other teams, the happier I am.”
In some respects running an NBA team and trying to win on the court is a zero sum game — there are only so many great players, and if you have one then another team doesn’t. While you can find role players to fill out a roster (something teams with a vision and plan do better by finding good fits with their system), there are only so many elite or even second tier players in the league. And teams need those guys to win.
Cuban was stirring the pot. But he was also telling the truth.