Owner Mark Cuban isn’t all that thrilled with the 10-day break his Dallas Mavericks will have next month when the NBA celebrates the annual All-Star Game.
The Mavericks will host the Utah Jazz on Feb. 9 in their final game before All-Star weekend. But their next game after the All-Star Game in Toronto on Feb. 14 won’t be until Feb. 19 at Orlando.
Players used to have to report back to their teams two days after the All-Star Game. But the NBA listened to players — especially those taking part in All-Star festivities— and extended that by another two days.
Cuban, though, is not a fan of the extension.
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“I’d rather have the season go longer for another 10 days because it’s not like there’s any competition,” he said. “But that’s just my choice.
“People say to cut a couple of preseason games off, which I’m fine with. I like preseason because I think it gives our guys a chance to play, but I would be OK with cutting a couple of preseason games down to five or six.”
Cuban is hopeful that if the regular season is extended by 10 days, it could fill a void for the average sports fan.
The 82-game NBA season ends April 13. The playoffs begin April 16.
“I just think television has changed so that the difference in households watching television on June 12 [for the NBA Finals] vs. June 24 or 26 isn’t that big, because football hasn’t started yet,” Cuban said. “It’s just the dog days of baseball and people are crying for sports still, and there’s nothing to watch.
“I think spreading out will be great for the league.”
Give it a rest
Cuban also believes the trend of teams resting players on the second night of a back-to-back is a prudent way of doing business.
“We’re not stupid,” said Cuban, whose team hosts Minnesota at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at American Airlines Center. “The game’s gotten faster, there are more possessions per game.
“The game is more athletic, and so you don’t want to increase the chance of your guy getting hurt.”
As far as that fan who shelled out months in advance to purchase tickets to a certain game to see a certain player, Cuban said: “I’ve said many, many, many, many, many times, it’s our job to create a great experience. But you can’t control when guys are going to get hurt, when they’ll play, whether they’ll play well, whether they’ll get in foul trouble.
“We’ve got 14 other guys on the team, and so they’ve got to do their job, and you never know. That’s when the breakout star happens.”
Cuban motioned toward rookie center Salah Mejri, who was working out nearby on a weight machine. Mejri had career highs of 17 points and nine rebounds last week at Oklahoma City.
I’ve said many, many, many, many, many times, it’s our job to create a great experience. But you can’t control when guys are going to get hurt, when they’ll play, whether they’ll play well, whether they’ll get in foul trouble.
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban on resting players
Since the Mavericks were on a back-to-back, all five of their starters didn’t play against OKC and Mejri got an opportunity to shine against one the best and most aggressive frontlines in the NBA.
When told not many knew about Mejri’s talents, Cuban said: “I knew. I knew. That’s why I want him to play more, but it’s not my call.”
The Mavs went 2-3 on their recent grueling stretch in which they played five games in four cities in seven days.
Dallas opened the stretch with a 110-107 home loss to Cleveland, and then dropped a 108-89 decision at Oklahoma City. On Friday, the Mavericks bounced back and won in Chicago 83-77.
On Sunday in San Antonio, the Mavericks suffered their worst loss of the season, 112-83. However, the Mavericks recovered on Monday and outlasted the Boston Celtics in overtime 118-113.
“We let the Cleveland one go, guys that ordinarily don’t play a lot of minutes got to log game reps against OKC,” shooting guard Wesley Matthews said. “And to come back the way we did against Chicago — the way that they’ve been playing — and to battle and get our [rear ends] kicked in San Antonio, but still be able to come back [Monday] against a tough team to get one, especially in overtime after a long trip, we’ve gotten better.”