Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban calls tanking “brutal” but acknowledged that he told his team that it would be best to lose for the rest of the 2017-18 season.
Cuban told Julius Irving on the House Call with Dr. J podcast that he shared that sentiment with the team recently.
“I’m probably not supposed to say this, but, like, I just had dinner with a bunch of our guys the other night, and here we are, you know, we weren’t competing for the playoffs. I was like, ‘Look, losing is our best option,'” Cuban said on the podcast. “Adam [Silver] would hate hearing that, but I at least sat down and I explained it to them. And I explained what our plans were going to be this summer, that we’re not going to tank again. This was, like, a year-and-a-half tanking, and that was too brutal for me. But being transparent, I think that’s the key to being kind of a players owner and having stability.”
In May, Cuban said the Mavericks looked to lose as much as they could at the end of last season once the team was out of postseason contention. Dallas finished with the ninth-worst record in the NBA and didn’t improve its draft position through the lottery.
This season, the Mavericks (18-40) have the third-worst record in the NBA entering Tuesday but are among a logjam of seven teams with fewer than 20 wins. The team with the worst record will have a 25 percent chance of making the No. 1 pick in June’s draft.
Starting with the 2019 draft, the three teams with the worst records will share a 14 percent chance of getting the No. 1 overall pick, lessening the incentive to lose at the end of the season.