Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban spoke with KESN over the weekend with a focus on Summer-of-2013 moves. Give us a little time and we will dissect the information in ways that will offer a deeper translation. But for now, a quote-by-quote summation:
CUBAN 1: On the notion that some options are already closed off ...
"Nothing has really changed. ... We haven't closed any doors, and as far as we know, there haven't been any doors that have been closed to us. We're just going to run them all out there and see what happens."
This is obviously in reference to the odd stories that have Dallas moving off of pursuing Chris Paul because so many around the league assume his return to LAC is a foregone conclusion. It probably is; but Dallas must still knock on that July 1 door.
CUBAN 2: On 'The Big Fish'
"It's not like last year. We're going to go after them. But it's not like we're not having all the intense conversations to figure out all of our alternatives.''
Cuban is implying here, however subtly, that this year will be a truer go-after-them year than last year was, when he didn't show up for the Deron Williams meetings. There's some revisionist history here, I think; why court somebody half-way? But regardless, this summer is a "go after them'' summer.
CUBAN 3: On urgency and Dirk
"We want to be a championship team. We've never said we have to be a championship team this year. We want to be a better team, a top-seed team. If we get the top free agent, that doesn't leave us a whole lot of flexibility to add a lot of players, but we have a good nucleus around them.
"We know we'll have a good team, but we won't know if we have a great team. If you look at this like a two-year plan, then we think we're on a track to have a great team by the end of next year. I wouldn't say necessarily this year that Dirk has to be the second-best player, but hopefully by the end of next year."
If you sense that "The Two-Year Plan'' is a purposeful theme designed to steer the public away from "Plan Powder'' ... I sense the same thing. Stay tuned on this. Much more to come.
CUBAN 4: On the Dirk relationship
"I'll let Dirk decide that (summer-of-2014 paycut). It'll just depend on how strongly he feels about who we're bringing. That dude has saved every nickel he's ever had. He's not worried about paying for his funeral. Dirk wants to win, and his heart is in the right place. He's a great guy. We get along great and we can have very open and honest conversation and we don't hold anything back. When it comes down to that time, we'll have that conversation and figure it out."
Dirk's contract in 2014 is, quite obviously, key to "The Two-Year Plan.''
CUBAN 5: On dumping the 13th pick
"It depends on what kind of offers we get. Everyone talks about this being a weak draft, so it depends on who falls to No. 13. We're not going to make the decision way in advance.
"If we like the person at 13, we'll keep it and we'll figure something out elsewhere to free up cap space to get there, but that'll be an option for us. If our guy doesn't get there, we'll look at trading it. … If a guy falls, we'll be happy to take him and figure out who to work the cap. If no one wants to make a trade for whatever reason, we can maybe get a guy to stash overseas somewhere.''
I have visited with Cuban on this subject and am so glad to hear him express an open-minded view here -- including considering the Euro Cap Stash rather than being "likely'' to do any one thing at this early stage -- as I detailed earlier this week.
CUBAN 6: On Plan B's and C's
"The way I work in all my businesses, if you prepare and you put yourself in a position to win, you're not going to win them all but you're going to get some. I can make an argument why we should absolutely go after the big fish, and I can make an argument on why we shouldn't. There are a lot of really, really, good players that -- in combination -- I think can make us a top-three or top-four seed in the West.
"We can go out there and get guys that are really good players that want to come here whose agents have suggested that they'd really love to come to Dallas. We can go put together a good team and see what we've got. If it doesn't work, with Dirk and Marion coming off the books, with the stretch provision and contracts, we still have the opportunity to go after two max free agents [next summer] if we're willing to take the hit on the stretch. I'm willing to do that."
"The stretch provision'' comes with complications. David Lord is preparing a breakdown of what it means -- good and bad -- for Dallas. Premium Mavs fans can get a preview of this ... along with a pinch of D-Lord skepticism ... here.
CUBAN 7: On Marion and Carter
"I'm setting up times with (Shawn Marion) to talk to him. I'll talk to Vince. We're going through and trying to get feedback from all of our guys. With Dirk, it's obviously more important because of the contractual scenario.''
What is there to discuss? Trades. Stretch provisions. ETOs. Contractual tricks that require coordination with the player ...
Again, more on this coming up.
CUBAN 8: On the death of one-year deals
"We can go and put together a better team by signing multiple guys to multi-year contracts. We won't sign anybody to a one-year deal. They'll all be four-year deals because that gives you the most flexibility if you stretch them.''
Cuban is rounding off here. He's not saying Dallas will never again sign a player who is only deserving of a one-year deal to anything more than that. This is a key point that is already being misunderstood in the shorthand of the internet. Best said: In certain ideal circumstances, the Mavs would like to sign the right people to the right long-term deals.
CUBAN 9: On selling 'big fish' on 4-year deals
"First, you try to look what is important to the player. All players say they want to win rings, and that's true. All players want to make as much money as they can and that's true. They all view their careers differently, and I try to focus on what we can do to help them reach their career goals and put them in a position to succeed.
"In terms of that fifth year, that really is overrated from the perspective that if he's young enough, he's going to get another contract or two. ...
"The third point, look at what LeBron, Kevin Durant, Bosh and all those guys did. They all signed deals with opt-outs after three years, so there's plenty of precedent. It's not like all of these guys have to have that fifth year. A lot of them look at the flexibility and the options, and they have enough confidence in their ability to get that next contract. They have enough confidence in their ability to find insurance contracts in case they get hurt."
The "opt-out'' has morphed into something mysterious, but as Cuban says, it is commonplace. What is not commonplace: The idea that "the fifth year is overrated.'' There isn't much precedent for that belief.
CUBAN 10: The Final Word
"There's so many different ways and permutations that I don't think we can say if we don't get Free Agent A, B and C that this summer is a failure. … There's a lot of different options, and we have to explore all of them. I'm not about winning the summer; I'm about trying to do what I think is best for the franchise."