Dallas Mavericks Owner, Mark Cuban Fined $600,000 For Tanking Comments

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Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has been fined $600,000 by the NBA for comments on tanking during a podcast with Hall of Famer Julius Erving.

Commissioner Adam Silver said the fine was for “public statements detrimental to the NBA.” The league said the podcast with Erving was posted Sunday, the day the All-Star game was played in Los Angeles.

Cuban called tanking “brutal” but acknowledged that he told his team that it would be best to lose for the rest of the 2017-18 season.

“Tanking,” is a team’s intent to do less than everything it can to win. It is a concerted effort over several months (and perhaps several seasons) by a team to deliberately not be as good as it could be. It is considered cheap, disingenuous and dishonest, the byproduct of a flawed system where a team can be rewarded for being bad and where deliberately losing is thereby a strategic decision.

“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.”

“I earned it,” Cuban told The Associated Press when asked about the latest fine. “I got excited talking to Dr. J and said something I shouldn’t have.”

Responding to Cuban’s tanking comments, Mavs star Dirk Nowitzki said Wednesday that he’ll “never stand for losing on purpose. That’s not who I am.”

“I’ve been around too long,” Nowitzki said. “We’re all competitors. I think the young guys, when you’re out there, you’ve got to compete. If you don’t, you lose market value. You might get hurt. There’s all these things that can happen if you don’t play your minutes hard. That’s my advice to all the young guys — play your minutes hard, get better and whatever happens, happens.

“I think players never play to lose in this league. It might happen, but we don’t play for it. I still love to compete. That’s one big reason why I’m still out here — because I enjoy being out there and playing against some of these guys that are half my age and trying to be out there and help the guys win or help the guys get better or improve and use my experience.”

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.

The Mavericks (18-40) have the third-worst record in the NBA 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.

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