Buy or Sell: Mark Cuban’s Interview with Bleacher Report

Ever since the 2022 NBA Draft, little has happened around the league. Only the Kevin Durant saga in Brooklyn has wet the parched mouths of NBA fans during these dry times.

Luckily for us, Mavericks’ Governor Mark Cuban is here to entertain.

Last week, Cuban was interviewed by Bleacher Report’s Taylor Rooks. Let’s look at the highlights of the interview and see whether we should buy what Cuban is selling.

The Mavericks Almost Traded for Kobe Bryant

The major flaw of the Mavericks’ team building during Dirk Nowitzki’s career, and one that they hope to avoid with Luka Dončić, was the inability to pair him with another star-level player. According to Cuban, however, a franchise-altering move almost materialized in 2007.

“I was going back and forth with Dr. Buss [then-Lakers’ owner] …and [he] said ‘Look, we think we might be parting ways with Kobe,” Cuban said.

Cuban mentioned that the deal ultimately fell through as Mitch Kupchak, then-Lakers general manager, convinced Bryant to return to the team.

“Even Dirk was like, ‘I would’ve traded me for Kobe’.”

Verdict: Buy. 

Bryant’s desire to leave the Lakers at that time is well-documented, and Dallas, fresh off an NBA Finals appearance, had every reason to make this swing. 

The Best NBA Player-Salesmen Play for the Mavericks

Being arguably more popular as a business mogul on the hit show “Shark Tank” than as the governor of the Mavericks, it is unsurprising Rooks would ask Cuban which three NBA players would make the best salesmen. Cuban’s answer?

Luka Dončić, Theo Pinson and Spencer Dinwiddie.

Cuban has given this compliment to Luka previously. Luka has an affable personality, is altruistic in the Dallas and Slovenian communities, and is entertaining in his rare long-form interviews (I enjoyed his interview with J.J. Redick). Can Luka sell, however? One would figure Cuban has insider knowledge on that. 

Theo Pinson is one of the best personalities on the team. Pinson was the leader of the Mavericks’ “bench mob” during the 2022 postseason and he has drastically improved team chemistry. On enthusiasm alone, he could successfully pitch to the Sharks. 

Spencer Dinwiddie, the Mavericks’ resident “crypto-bro,” has shown his ability to sell through his endorsement of various cryptocurrencies. If this experience isn’t convincing, Dinwiddie can bring his four-year-old son, Elijah, to do the pitch for him.

Verdict: Sell.

It is convenient that Cuban only selected players that play for his franchise. Are these three, however, really the best three salesmen in the league? I can think of a handful of others. For those reasons, I’m out.

Andrew Wiggins and Lack of Experience Decided the Western Conference Finals

Cuban believed that Warriors’ forward Andrew Wiggins prevented the Mavericks from advancing to the NBA Finals.

“I think [Andrew Wiggins] was the one who beat us,” Cuban said. “We didn’t know what to expect or how [Wiggins] would step up, and he did.”

Cuban doesn’t believe that a talent disparity between the two teams was a relevant factor.

“I don’t think [losing the series] was for a lack of talent,” Cuban said. “The Warriors deserve a lot of credit because…[they] knew where to be on both sides of the ball no matter how we adjusted. The teams we had played before us hadn’t been good at adjustments.”

Cuban suggested that this type of experience comes with time.

“We hadn’t been out of the first round in 10 years,” Cuban said. “It’s not so much ‘we need that second star’…it’s more ‘let’s get some time and experience in crunch situations’.” 

Verdict: Buy.

Wiggins played strong defense against Luka and was more than the energy-depleted Mavericks could handle offensively. Even if I disagreed, after watching Skip Bayless get humiliated by Cuban on live television, I would be remiss to do so publicly. 

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