Speculation about flailing pro sports teams tanking games at the end of a season to improve draft position often runs rampant.
But rarely does a player or anyone associated with a particular team admit it.
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban did so Wednesday, after his team finished 33-49 in its first losing season since 1999-2000.
“Once we were eliminated from the playoffs, we did everything possible to lose games,” Cuban said on “The Dan Patrick Show.”
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Cuban explained that he didn’t tell his players to lose games on purpose. Instead, the Mavericks went with younger players down the stretch, which inherently decreased their chances of winning.
The Mavericks, who finished 2-8 in their last 10 games, finished eight games out of the last playoff spot in the Western Conference
Dallas entered Tuesday’s NBA draft lottery in the ninth position and remained there after not cashing in on long odds to move up in the pecking order.
Cuban’s admission likely won’t go over well with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, who has previously addressed the tanking issue.
“We’re going to have to react and change incentives a bit. I do think it’s frustrating,” Silver said last month on the “Mike & Mike” talk show on ESPN Radio.