Cuban says Howard made mistake signing with Rockets

Posted Thursday, Oct. 31, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Owner Mark Cuban doesn’t plan on being emotional, or thinking about what might have been, when he sees Dwight Howard wearing one of the Houston Rockets’ blazing red uniforms Friday night.

The Dallas Mavericks made a strong push to acquire Howard via free agency this past July, but came up empty when the 6-foot-11 center signed a four-year, $88 million contract with the Rockets.

Cuban staunchly believes, however, that the Mavs are better off without Howard, who is widely considered as the NBA’s best center.

“I think we came out pretty good,” Cuban said Thursday. “It would have been one thing if we were stuck, but I don’t see us as being stuck.

“I see us as a team that can and will get better. Like I said about every other team, I hope they suck and I hope he has a miserable year, but it’s nothing personal.”

The Mavs (1-0) will get a glimpse of what the future might have been when they play Howard and the Rockets (1-0) at 7 p.m. Friday at the Toyota Center.

Cuban steadfastly believes Howard’s future would have been better if he would have joined the Mavs and 35-year-old Dirk Nowitzki instead of signing with the Rockets and James Harden, who turned 24 in August.

“Obviously he made a mistake in judgment,” Cuban said. “Do I blame him? No.

“That’s what young kids do. They make mistakes in judgment. Seriously.”

Cuban went on to say: “You choose teams, you don’t choose players. If you made choices based off an individual player, yeah, you made a mistake.

“You choose teams, you choose organizations, you choose coaches, you choose ... and it’s just not relative to Houston. Put aside Dwight, any young superstar player looking to make a move, if you’re that good, then the right organization gets all the right pieces around you.”

Now that he has the pieces that helped him win Wednesday’s season opener over Atlanta 118-109, coach Rick Carlisle doesn’t hold any grudges against Howard for not signing with the Mavs.

“It’s a free country, everybody can do what they want to do,” Carlisle said. “I enjoyed our meeting with Dwight.

“It was the first time I ever got to spend some real time with him. I thought he was engaging. It was a really good meeting, he made his decision, we had a Plan B, and so we’re in the midst of Plan B.”

While the Mavs are in the midst of Plan B, Cuban couldn’t help but rehash his meeting with Howard as he continues his search for another superstar to pair with Nowitzki.

“We got along great; I like Dwight as a person,” Cuban said. “I think we walked in [the meeting] thinking we were a long shot and we walked out thinking we had a shot.

“But I think we came out OK out of the whole deal.”

Still, if Howard had decided to sign with the Mavs, it would have put Cuban’s team right back into the NBA championship contender conversation.

“He had a lot of good choices,” Carlisle said of Howard, who had collected 17 points and 26 rebounds Wednesday against Charlotte. “Houston’s a good choice, Dallas would have been a good choice, Atlanta would have been a good choice.

“Listen, that’s water under the bridge. We’re five months later now and we’re focusing on the guys we have and he’s focused on their situation.”

Dwain Price, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @dwainprice

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