Mark Cuban once called letting Steve Nash leave in free agency his biggest mistake as Mavericks owner.
Cuban, reflecting on Nash in light of the point guard’s retirement, apparently changed his mind.
Cuban said letting Nash go was not the worst personnel decision of his ownership.
That would be Lamar Odom, he said.
The Mavericks traded a first-round pick (which ultimately became Mitch McGary) to the Lakers for Odom in 2011. Odom was disastrous in his lone season with the Mavericks, feuding with Cuban before just being sent home. Odom was reportedly dealing with drug issues, and he later apologized to Cuban.
Unquestionably, the move didn’t work for the Mavericks. But how predictable was Odom’s downward spiral? And how costly was it to Dallas?
The Mavericks might have had sound reasons for letting Nash leave for the Suns, but hindsight suggests they overreacted to injury concerns. Nash became a two-time MVP in Phoenix, and it’s not difficult to think he and Dirk Nowitzki could have gotten the Mavericks another championship besides 2011. They certainly would have had a better chance. Those are much higher stakes than swapping Mitch McGary for Odom in a season that wasn’t going anywhere, anyway.
I think Cuban had this right the first time.