Mark Cuban Admits He Nixed Greek Freak in Dallas
Mark Cuban admits that the Dallas Mavericks were close to drafting Giannis Antetokounmpo, but it was his decision not to on draft night.
On Sunday evening in Las Vegas, Mark Cuban sat down with Brendon Haywood and Justin Termine on SiriusXM NBA Radio to talk a plethora of topics. As the conversation kept going, the topic of the 2013 NBA Draft.
In Dallas, the 2013 NBA Draft brings up bad feelings as grumblings came out about the split within the franchise about selecting Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Cuban talked about that split on Sunday and admitted it was his decision to not draft him.
"“Our guys were like, we should take the Greek Freak. All we had was two tapes,” Cuban said about the young kid from Greece at the time."
This was also the summer of Dwight Howard where Dallas had set their sights on acquiring the big fella in free agency and took that plan into draft night a week before free agency began.
“That was the Dwight year too,” Cuban said when talking about the draft. “We thought we had a good shot.”
Then Haywood mentioned Antetokounmpo, Cuban informed Haywood they could have picked him. When Haywood asked Cuban who’s decision it was to not pick the Greek Freak, Cuban admitted it was him and that Donnie Nelson was all in on selecting him.
"“It was me…Donnie was like ‘I’m putting my you-know-whats on the table’…it was all in,” Cuban said."
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With the 13th pick, Dallas selected Kelly Olynyk only to send him off to Boston in a trade. Dallas later traded back into the 18th pick where they selected Shane Larkin out of Miami.
Giannis Antetokounmpo went 15th to the Milwaukee Bucks.
But when Nelson made his pitch for the Greek Freak, Cuban reminded him of the plan that summer to get better instantly and preserve cap space for the pursuit of Dwight Howard.
“But we have this plan right, because even as good as the Greek Freak turned out to be, he was still three years away and we wanted someone to help get us to the table right there and then.”
The rest is history as Antetokounmpo was the 2016-17 Most Improved Player of the Year and one of the better young players in the entire NBA.
This wound will never fully heel…especially the more the Greek Freak turns into a superstar.
Next: Dennis Smith Jr. Shines in Vegas
You can listen to the full Mark Cuban clip here on SoundCloud.