Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who is known for being an outside-the-box thinker, says he is open to giving the 6-foot-8 star center a shot to see if she can play in the NBA.
Cuban told reporters before Tuesday’s Mavericks-Los Angeles Lakers game that he would consider selecting Griner in the second-round of the NBA Draft.
“If she is the best on the board, I will take her,” Cuban said, via ESPN Dallas’ Tim McMahon. “I’ve thought about it. I’ve thought about it already. Would I do it? Right now, I’d lean toward yes, just to see if she can do it. You never know unless you give somebody a chance, and it’s not like the likelihood of any late-50s draft pick has a good chance of making it.”
Cuban also said he would at least be open to inviting her to play for the team’s summer league squad. Not only is Cuban curious to see whether Griner can play at an NBA level, but he also knows such a signing would be great for business.
“That’d sell out a few games,” he said.
Cuban told reporters he would not carry Griner on the team unless she earned a spot.
ESPN notes that a woman trying out for an NBA team would not be unprecedented. In 1979, Ann Meyers tried out for the Indiana Pacers but did not make the team.
A few hours after the report emerged, Griner posted a link to the story on her Twitter account and said, “I would hold my own! Lets do it.”
If anyone deserves a shot to compete with the men, it probably is Griner. The three-time All-American player blocked 736 shots in her career and averaged at least 23 points per game each of her last three seasons. I don’t think she would be able to hang with NBA players, but I sure would be intrigued to see how she would do.
The WNBA Draft is on April 15, and the Phoenix Mercury have the first pick. The WNBA regular season begins in May, which could present a conflict considering the NBA Draft is scheduled to take place on June 27. Griner might have to choose between the WNBA regular season and playing in the NBA Summer League if Cuban does sign her. You have to imagine she wouldn’t pass on the opportunity to try out for an NBA team if she gets the chance.
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