Getting Nowitzki was best trade Mavericks ever made

Posted Saturday, Nov. 09, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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He wasn’t the owner at the time, but Mark Cuban remembers the day the Dallas Mavericks moved down three spots in the 1998 NBA Draft.

The Mavs owned the No. 6 pick and had their eyes squarely set on selecting a young player from Germany named Dirk Nowitzki.

But Ross Perot Jr., the Mavs’ owner at the time, instructed his management team to move down in the draft to save some money, with the notion that Nowitzki would still be available.

The Mavs found a trading partner in the Milwaukee Bucks, who owned the No. 9 pick. Thus, in a pre-arranged trade before the ’98 draft, the Mavs selected Robert “Tractor” Traylor, the Bucks drafted Nowitzki, and the two teams subsequently traded draft picks.

“It really was just about saving money,” Cuban said. “Just to save the money, under $200,000.”

Although the gamble paid off, when asked whether he would have taken such a bold gamble — at the risk of losing out on a talent like Nowitzki — Cuban said: “No. You don’t take a chance like that.”

Cuban calls the trade that landed Nowitzki significant, especially because the 7-foot power forward owns many of the Mavs’ individual franchise records and was the guiding force behind the team winning the 2011 NBA title.

“Obviously it was probably the most important thing that’s happened to our franchise, so I’m grateful,” Cuban said. “I’m glad it happened.”

No bully zone

In light of the bullying allegations involving the NFL’s Miami Dolphins, the NBA reminded all 30 teams that any form of bullying and hazing won’t be tolerated.

And that reminder is just fine with Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle.

“Whatever the NBA does is well thought out, and they do it for good reasons,” Carlisle said. “Beyond that I don’t want to comment on it.

“I’m not familiar enough with what’s going on with the Dolphins football team at this time, and it’s not appropriate for me to comment. But our league is proactive on issues that are important situations, and what they’re doing is the right thing.”

Pulling for Baylor

One of the biggest Baylor fans cheering on the sixth-ranked Bears during their 41-12 win over No. 10 Oklahoma on Thursday was Milwaukee Bucks forward Ekpe Udoh.

Now, Udoh is wondering what BCS game the Bears (8-0) will play in if they win their remaining games.

“I think if they run through the rest of them, then everybody’s going to be undefeated and I don’t think they’ll give us that chance to play in the national championship game,” said Udoh, in his fourth season in the NBA. “But whatever BCS game we get into I’ll be trying to get to that game.”

The sixth overall pick of the 2010 NBA Draft, Udoh was a star player on Baylor’s 2009-10 basketball team that advanced to the Elite Eight in the NCAA Tournament before losing to Duke in the game that sent the Blue Devils to the Final Four.

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

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