When it comes to the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban always makes sure he reads every page.
Cuban said: “And I think, ‘OK, how can I find a way to bust this thing to get an edge?’ ”
The new CBA was recently ratified by the NBA board of governors and NBA players. It starts on July 1 and runs through the 2023-24 season.
In analyzing the agreement, Cuban believes it’s more about teams having a greater chance to keep their own players when they become free agents. Teams can designate two veterans to receive a six-year contract extension, rather than the usual five. It should make it easier to retain superstars.
“It’s not like the last one where I thought there were some obvious things,” said Cuban, whose team plays host to the New York Knicks on Wednesday. “It really is going come down to how much the revenue [basketball related income] grows.
“That’ll dictate, really, the impact of the CBA or whether it declines. We don’t know.”
Under the current CBA, the Mavericks went very hard in free agency after Dwight Howard, Deron Williams (during his prime), DeAndre Jordan and Hassan Whiteside — and came up empty-handed every time. But they signed free agents Wesley Matthews in the summer of 2015 and Harrison Barnes last summer.
Cuban views Barnes and Matthews as building blocks who can help the Mavs get back in the championship conversation.
“We just didn’t get the guys that we hoped we could get,” Cuban said. “It wasn’t a matter of interpreting the CBA, it was just a matter of signing guys.
“But if [Barnes] and Wes turn into cornerstones and we get rolling, we’ll look smart. And if they don’t, we’ll look like idiots. That’s the name of the game.”
Cuban believes flexibility to acquire free agents in the new CBA will be reduced from what it is now. Thus, teams might have to take another path to improve their roster.
“I’d say if I had to guess, there will be a lot more teams that tank in order to get to a tanking point,” Cuban said. “I think the downside is because free agency is going to be a lot harder to be transformational in terms of team guys moving, [teams] will be a lot more dependent on the draft.
“And there’s only a few ways to get a good draft pick, and so those teams that makes the determination to tank, we’ll see what they have.”
Cuban also said he doesn’t believe the NBA is close to putting an expansion team in Seattle or elsewhere in the foreseeable future. And he doesn’t expect any franchise moves.
“There has to be a [very] good reason, and no one’s given it to us yet,” Cuban said. “Maybe if someone wrote a $5 billion check.
“But I don’t see teams moving. This isn’t the NFL.”