Dallas Mavericks

Despite dust-up, Mavericks still interested in Rondo during free agency

Mark Cuban, above, made it loud and clear the Mavericks are still interested in re-signing guard Rajon Rondo.
Mark Cuban, above, made it loud and clear the Mavericks are still interested in re-signing guard Rajon Rondo. AP

In his first extensive interview since last week’s profanity-laced exchanged between Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle and point guard Rajon Rondo, owner Mark Cuban tried to downplay the incident as if it was just another day at the office.

“When you have strong, smart guys they bash heads and that’s not a bad thing,” Cuban said before Monday’s game against New Orleans. “I wrote a blog post one time saying the best companies have people that are confident enough to yell at each other.

“My partners, we had more drag-down, knock-down screaming matches. That doesn’t bother me at all. If you were at my dinner table growing up — if the Cuban family is any indication — screaming is a sign of love.”

It certainly didn’t appear that much love was being shared in the third quarter of the Mavs’ Feb. 24 game against Toronto when Rondo loudly cursed Carlisle during a timeout, and Carlisle loudly cursed him back. The exchange continued in the locker room after the game.

Carlisle and Rondo have since made up, while the Mavs said they’ve put the incident behind them.

Cuban said the dust-up will play no role in whether the Mavs decide to re-sign Rondo when he becomes a free agent on July 1.

“Not even a little bit,” Cuban said. “I’m still a big Rajon Rondo fan. It’s a team game. No one player makes or breaks the whole team.”

While history has shown that players are usually on their best behavior during their free agency year, Cuban wasn’t surprised that Rondo acted up with so much at stake for him from a financial standpoint.

“Guys that want to win don’t pay any attention to that,” Cuban said. “They know they’re good enough.

“I think guys who are the end of the bench are the ones that pay more attention to that.”

Unbreakable record?

It was 53 years ago Monday that Philadelphia center Wilt Chamberlain shocked the basketball world when he scored an NBA record 100 points in his team’s 169-147 triumph over the New York Knicks. It’s a high-profile record that has withstood the test of time.

But will it ever be broken?

“It’s certainly doubtful, but is it possible, yeah it’s possible,” Carlisle said. “Kobe Bryant had 81 not too many years ago.

“Guys like [Kevin] Durant and [James] Harden and LeBron James, if they get on a roll and get the other team into the penalty and march to the free-throw line and score with the clock stopped, anything is possible.”

Bryant scored 81 points against Toronto on Jan. 22, 2008. He also outscored the entire Mavs team after three quarters, 62-61 — when Dallas played the Los Angeles Lakers on Dec. 20, 2005 — and didn’t even play in the fourth period.

“You saw Klay Thompson score 37 in a quarter [for Golden State against Sacramento on Feb. 3],” Cuban said. “If somebody is just an unbelievable shooter and is put in a set of circumstances where one team is trying to get a first-round pick and another team is more talented with some shooters, I think it’s possible because of the 3-point shot.”

Dwain Price, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @dwainprice

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