Mark Cuban has heard it all before.
The Dallas Mavericks owner says his star player, Dirk Nowitzki, has a history of getting frustrated and saying something that gets everyone’s attention. Such was the case Friday when he questioned whether the Mavs are a playoff team after blowing a late lead in a 119-112 home loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.
Nowitzki had seen enough after the Mavs’ third consecutive loss at American Airlines Center.
“The way we let those games slip away, I don’t think we’re a playoff team,” Nowitzki said Friday. “We’ve got to win those games.”
Never miss a local story.
Cuban said such comments are common for Nowitzki.
“When have you not heard Dirk say something like that in any season?” Cuban asked. “That’s Dirk blowing off steam — he does that all the time.
“He’s always due for one. I can just show you the text from 2011.”
So are Nowitzki’s comments taken seriously around the Mavs’ camp?
“I don’t laugh it off because I don’t want it to happen in the first place,” Cuban said. “But Dirk is competitive.
“And then you talk to him about it and he goes, ‘I know, bro, I’m a warrior. Let’s get after it.’ That’s just who he is.”
Cuban said the “steam” Nowitzki blew off in 2011 was “a whole lot worse” than what the 11-time All-Star said Friday. Cuban believes Nowitzki is simply sending a message to his teammates.
“That’s why none of us have any problems with it,” Cuban said. “That’s kind of like his version of a coach getting a second [technical foul] and getting kicked out of a game.”
After a fourth straight home loss Sunday, Dallas is 2 1/2 games ahead of Minnesota for the West’s eighth and final playoff berth.
Cuban on Chandler
Even if he knew that he was going to miss out on free agents Deron Williams, Chris Paul and Dwight Howard, Cuban said he still would not have signed Tyson Chandler to a multiyear contract when he became a free agent in the summer of 2011.
“It wasn’t a question of Tyson,” Cuban said. “You can’t say enough great things about Tyson.
“But it’s all the same things I’ve talked about before, and all the teams that we said to watch out for are pretty much in watch-out mode.”
Had he given in to emotional sentiment, Cuban believes the Mavs would have been strapped under the salary cap and deep in the NBA’s luxury tax category.
In his one season in Dallas, Chandler was the team’s vocal and inspirational leader. He also helped changed the team’s defensive culture while leading the Mavs to the 2011 NBA title.
“I emailed him some this summer,” Cuban said. “He’s always going to be a value. But we don’t need to rehash the hows and the whys.”
Finishing as Mavs
Cuban said he would like to see Shawn Marion and Vince Carter retire as Mavericks.
Marion and Carter are in the last years of their contracts and will become free agents this summer. Carter will be 37 on Jan. 26 and Marion will be 36 on May 7.