Much of the Dallas Mavericks’ off-season centered around two players — centers DeAndre Jordan and Tyson Chandler.
Coincidentally, the Mavs opened the regular season Wednesday night in Phoenix against Chandler and the Suns. And on Thursday in Los Angeles, the Mavs will play Jordan and the Clippers at the Staples Center.
Coincidence? Owner Mark Cuban thinks not.
“They’re not stupid,” Cuban said of the NBA schedule-maker. “They do it on purpose, for sure.”
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Mavs-Suns and Mavs-Clippers, Cuban says, has a lot of reality TV-like drama to it.
Chandler helped the Mavs win the 2011 NBA title, then left to play three years for the New York Knicks. Chandler returned to the Mavs last season, only to be shunned again by the Mavs during free agency this past summer in favor of Jordan.
They’re not stupid. They do it on purpose, for sure.
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban on the NBA schedule-makers
Meanwhile, Jordan told the Mavs he would leave the Los Angeles Clippers and sign a free agent contract with Dallas.
But in five of the strangest emoji-filled days in Mavs history, Jordan changed his mind and re-signed with the Clippers.
When asked if he’s looking forward to seeing Jordan, Cuban said: “I don’t care one way or the other.”
However, Cuban did say of Chandler: “Tyson and I texted a few times this week, so we’re good. As far as the other stuff [with Jordan], there’s nothing to say.”
But Cuban did have a lot to say about how the NBA schedule-maker stacked the deck for the Mavs’ first two games.
“We’re in the entertainment business,” he said. “I thought the Clippers would have been our opening night game.”
I don’t care one way or the other.
Cuban on facing the Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan
Chandler was happy to hear that the Mavericks are talking about extending coach Rick Carlisle’s contract for five years.
“He deserves it, he absolutely deserves it,” Chandler said. “He’s one of the best coaches in the league, and when you have something like that you’ve got to keep it.”
Chandler, who had a pair of one-year stints with the Mavs under Carlisle, remains close with his former coach.
“I think what he’s done for the [Mavs] organization and the franchise is he’s done nothing but elevate them,” Chandler said. “A championship run, having some guys banged up and kind of patchwork, and a lot of guys on one-year contracts multiple years, he’s done an excellent job.
“He kept the team in the playoffs. I think he definitely deserves it.”
While others said Wesley Matthews wouldn’t be ready for opening day, the shooting guard never wavered.
Matthews, sidelined by left Achilles surgery on March 11, was in the starting lineup Wednesday in Phoenix.
“He’s a remarkable guy who is extremely strong-willed, and when he puts his mind and focuses on something, he just fixates on it,” Carlisle said. “He was extremely motivated, obviously, with the rehab.
“He wanted to prove to people that he’d get back and play when we started the season. ... He just has a certain presence that’s about winning that sets a cultural tone that you want, and he’s a knowledgeable veteran, so he’s the kind of guy that we like.”
Ode to Nash
A contingent of nine Mavericks, led by forward Dirk Nowitzki, president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson and assistant vice president of basketball operations Michael Finley, will be back in Phoenix on Friday when the Suns induct point guard Steve Nash into their Ring of Honor.
Cuban has a prior business engagement in San Francisco and will not be able to attend.