Mark Cuban Reveals Biggest Mistake Since Owning Mavs
In reminiscing on past Dirk Nowitzki memories, Mark Cuban reveals his biggest mistake since owning the Mavs before a Friday night game in Dallas.
It was the summer of 2004 and the Dallas Mavericks had a decision to make; to pay or not to pay Steve Nash.
Steve Nash was drafted by the Phoenix Suns in the 1996 NBA Draft where he would play just two seasons before being traded to the Dallas Mavericks in the summer of 1998. That same summer, Dallas drafted a young kid out of Germany by the name of Dirk Nowitzki.
Over the next six seasons, the Nash and Nowitzki combo in Dallas would become one of the most fun and dangerous duos in the league. From all-star appearances to career averages, the duo seemed destined to play the rest of their career together.
Then the summer of 2004 came.
Steve Nash hit unrestricted free agency during the prime of his career that summer and Dallas had to choose whether to pay him big money or not. After receiving a large offer from the Phoenix Suns, Nash reportedly went back to Cuban for a chance to match it.
"“According to sources, Nash brought the Suns’ offer back to the Mavericks, but Mavs owner Mark Cuban declined to match it. Stein reports that the Suns’ offer was nearly $20 million richer.” ESPN’s Marc Stein reported back in 2004."
Nash would sign a six year, $65 million dollar deal and Mark Cuban declined to match it.
As far as the reasoning, Stein said in the same report that it was all based off Nash’s health.
"“Mavericks sources said Cuban was reluctant to give Nash more than a four-year guaranteed contract because of fears the 30-year-old couldn’t physically handle playing more than 32 minutes per game,” Stein said."
Nash would play the next SEVEN seasons in Phoenix where he would play no less than 74 games a season averaging over 32 minutes a game in each of those seasons.
In that time, Nash would win back-to-back MVP awards and lead the Suns to multiple playoff appearances. Now, a retired legend and one of the greatest point guards of all-time, Nash is one of the greatest “what ifs” in Dallas history.
Now, in March of 2017, Cuban still admits it was an obvious mistake, but also admits it was probably his biggest mistake.
“Losing Nash was probably my biggest mistake in owning the Mavs,” Cuban said as he spoke to the media before Friday night’s home game against the Grizzlies.
Losing Nash that summer for nothing and what Nash would go on to accomplish in his career would obviously make that one of the more heartbreaking decisions in franchise history.
But according to Cuban, it wasn’t the first time they entertained the idea of Nash not being a Maverick…
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“We literally tried to trade Nash after that first year but had no takers,” Cuban said.
This was Cuban’s joking way to show how he wasn’t the only one who missed on Nash before he entered into his prime. As far as trade talks go, there was only one name that was never on the table.
“Dirk was the one guy in my whole tenure that was always off the table,” Cuban said.
Looking back, it is always easy to point out the mistakes, but there has been debate among fans on if Dirk would have become the player he became if Nash had stuck around. Cuban didn’t get into that, but did admit that it was when Dirk was without Nash that he realized Dirk’s full potential.
“When Nash was gone it was no doubt, he really took it among himself to be that guy,” Cuban said.
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For an owner that has been criticized every year from his fan base, Cuban does realize his mistakes, contrary to what some might think. Losing Nash was horrible, but remember it is always easy to judge decisions looking back in time.