Because the Dallas Mavericks qualified for the playoffs this season, after missing out last year, doesn’t mean this has been a successful season.
That’s what Mavs owner Mark Cuban said prior to Wednesday’s regular season finale against the Memphis Grizzlies.
Cuban measures success in the NBA only one way — in championships. By his method, with 30 teams in the league, there will be 29 losers and one winner.
However, Cuban admits that because the Mavs went from 41-41 and missing the playoffs last year to the postseason this season, that it is at least a step in the right direction.
Last season was challenging for the Mavs because right knee surgery cost forward Dirk Nowitzki the first 27 games of the year. Coach Rick Carlisle noted that this year also has been challenging.
“It is supposed to be challenging,” Carlisle said. “You’ve got to dig deep. As coaches, we’re always telling the players that they’ve got to dig deep. If they don’t see you digging deep too, and toeing the line and doing everything that you can do, you’re going to have a hard time selling them on the importance of it.
“These aren’t easy jobs. That’s why they’re challenging and that’s why there are so few.”
Bucks at a bargain
Cuban thinks the Milwaukee Bucks’ owner, former U.S. senator Herb Kohl, got short-changed Wednesday when he agreed to sell the team to hedge-fund billionaires Wesley Edens and Marc Lasry for $550 million.
“I think [the Bucks are] worth a lot more than that,” Cuban said. “They got a bargain.”
Cuban said a team’s value can’t be based on what happened in the past.
“You can’t look backwards,” Cuban said. “You’ve got to look forward.
“I love the senator. He’s a great guy. He taught me a lot. He’s a good dude.”
Cuban bought the Mavs from Ross Perot Jr. on Jan. 4, 2000, for $285 million. He said he’ll turn a profit with the Mavs this year for just the third or fourth time.
Kohl bought the Bucks in 1985 for $18 million.
Odom’s last stand
The last time owner Mark Cuban was in Memphis was also Lamar Odom’s last game with the Mavs.
It was April 7, 2012. Cuban and Odom had a disagreement at halftime because of, among other things, Odom’s bad attitude. Two days later, the Mavs released Odom.
“That was the last time I was here,” Cuban said. “[The incident] didn’t even cross my mind until now.”
Asked his opinion on the New York Knicks signing Odom to a contract on Wednesday after not playing all season, Cuban said: “I don’t have any opinion one way or the other. Don’t know, don’t care.”
Briefly• Cuban spent part of Wednesday in New York on the set of Good Morning America to help promote his side gig, the television show Shark Tank.
• Of the eight playoff teams in the Western Conference, Cuban said: “I don’t think anybody is afraid of anybody.”