Dallas Mavericks

Mark Cuban: This is ‘incredibly important’ NBA draft

Mark Cuban and the Dallas Mavericks appear committed to landing a young, promising player with the ninth overall pick, rather than trading it.

Cuban wouldn’t rule out a trade, but said there are 11 or 12 good players in this class who will become NBA starters.

“Maybe not their first year, but eventually,” Cuban said. “That’s what you look for and you hope the guy you pick turns into something more.”

Asked if this is his most important draft since he purchased the team in 2000, Cuban said: “They’re all important, but yeah. Obviously we’re transitioning to get younger, so it is. It is incredibly important for us as will next year and the year after.”

Cuban and the Mavericks front office are keeping the phone lines open, though, for a potential trade. There are several high-profile names such as San Antonio’s LaMarcus Aldridge that are reportedly being shopped around.

But Cuban said the Mavericks haven’t gotten strong enough offers to part ways with their pick.

“We’ve gotten tons of offers, but we’re not going to trade just to trade,” Cuban said. “We haven’t gotten anything that really excites us. I’m not going to say if there was a young player, a young star, we’d trade it in a heartbeat.

“We’re not going to trade just to bring in a name.”

The only prospect Cuban spoke specifically about was French point guard Frank Ntilikina. Cuban and Ntilikina had a pre-draft meeting.

“It was fun,” Cuban said. “He’s a great guy. My first time to really travel and go out and meet a potential pick. He lived up to expectations.”

Ntilikina is among several highly-touted point guards in the draft, and the Mavericks understand the importance of a difference-making point guard in the league. But that doesn’t mean they’ll go that route when they’re on the clock.

“You just want to get the best player we can get,” Cuban said. “We’re not going to draft a position. You don’t want to say, ‘Well, we got the best point guard and then have someone turn out to be a star.’ So we’ll get the best player we can get and see where it can take us.”

Drew Davison: 817-390-7760, @drewdavison

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