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Mark Cuban rips Bud Selig for Alex Rodriguez suspension

Mark-Cuban-Jay-LenoMajor League Baseball acted outside the scope of its drug policy earlier this week by suspending Alex Rodriguez for 211 games. If A-Rod used performance-enhancing substances, it would be the first time he was found guilty of doing so since the league introduced a specific policy for PED suspensions. First-time offenders are supposed to receive a 50-game ban.

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban believes MLB had no right to suspend A-Rod for as long as it did and reportedly threaten to ban him for life. During an appearance on “The Tonight Show” with Jay Leno on Thursday night, he blasted commissioner Bud Selig.

“I think it’s disgraceful what Major League Baseball is trying to do to him,” Cuban said. “It’s not that he doesn’t deserve to be suspended — he does. But they have policies in place. 211 games? That’s personal.

“It’s basically become Bud Selig’s mafia. He runs it the way he wants to run it. When I was trying to buy the Rangers, it was an open auction. I sat in there with my good hard-earned money trying to bid and they did everything possible to keep me from buying the team. They had lawyers in there trying to change the rules. They had people trying to put up more money. It was horrible.”

Cuban obviously has a biased opinion because of his past dealings with Selig, which he basically admitted. He sounds like MLBPA director Michael Weiner in bashing the league for the suspension, but very few people feel sympathy for A-Rod.

Ryan Braun was also a first-time offender, yet he accepted more than a 50-game suspension after MLB presented its evidence. If the league’s evidence against Rodriguez is even more compelling and includes proof that he interfered with their investigation, he also deserves more than a 50-game ban.

Mark Cuban: Dirk Nowitzki can still be an MVP candidate

Dirk NowitzkiFew people consider the Dallas Mavericks a legitimate contender for the upcoming NBA season, but owner Mark Cuban says you should not count out his team. Specifically, he believes that many people are wrongly writing off franchise player Dirk Nowitzki, whom Cuban says can still be an MVP candidate.

Though Dirk was one of the top players in the NBA for over a decade, he had a dropoff last year after returning from arthroscopic knee surgery. He averaged 17.3 points and 31.3 minutes per game last season, which were both the lowest totals since his rookie season. Still, keep in mind that a big reason for the dropoff was his return from knee surgery. At least that’s what Cuban wants you to remember.

“If there’s one missing piece between what everyone is saying and what we’re doing, everybody, I think, has dismissed Dirk — like Dirk is done and he’s on the downside and he can’t play anymore and he’s not the type of contributor that he was,” Cuban said during an appearance on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM’s Galloway and Company, per ESPN Dallas.

Cuban then made a pretty convincing case that Nowitzki still has it.

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Mark Cuban: Dallas Mavericks are better off without Dwight Howard

Dwight-Howard-RocketsThe Dallas Mavericks were one of the teams who were believed to be in the final running earlier this month as Dwight Howard weighed his options for the future. Once it became obvious Howard wasn’t going to return to Los Angeles, the Houston Rockets had to beat out the Mavs and the Golden State Warriors in the Dwight sweepstakes.

Mark Cuban is not crying over Dwight’s decision.

“I think we’ve put ourselves in a spot where we’re in a better spot than we were at if we got just the one max-out deal,” the Mavs owner told ESPNDallas.com on Wednesday night. “I think it’d be better shorter and longer term. I don’t want to make that sound the wrong way. I think we’ll be better this year because we added five good players or more.”

Signing Howard would have complicated things a bit for Dallas, but Cuban wanted him as badly as anyone else. The Mavs would have had to clear roster space by dumping one or two veterans, but it would have been well worth it for a 27-year-old All-Star who could have become the cornerstone of their franchise with Dirk nearing the end of his career.

“Obviously we didn’t get Dwight,” Cuban said. “We took a chance, and it didn’t happen. I think we put together a really good team. It sticks within the culture we’ve tried to define. We’ve dealt with some of the weaknesses we had from last year. Hopefully if we stay healthy, good things will happen.”

After missing out on Howard, the Mavericks turned their attention to guards Jose Calderon, Monta Ellis and Wayne Ellington as well as center Samuel Dalembert. All are valuable players, and signing Howard would not have given Dallas the ability to build that type of depth.

Cuban admitted he is “disappointed” the Mavs missed out on Dwight but said he’s glad they were able to land “much more” talent than they expected. Time will tell if the additions will be enough, but there’s no guarantee Howard would have been a fit. Cuban and company simply have to work with what they have.

Mark Cuban funding study on flopping

LeBron flop Paul GeorgeDallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is stepping up his efforts to get the NBA to crack down on flopping. The NBA first began fining players for flopping this season, but that has hardly eliminated acting from the game. Perhaps the $100,000 Cuban has given to Southern Methodist University to study the phenomenon will help.

According to ESPNDallas.com, SMU is launching an 18-month study to examine the forces involved in basketball collisions. Their goal is to determine whether video and other motion-capture techniques can help distinguish between actual collisions and flopping.

“The research findings could conceivably contribute to video reviews of flopping and the subsequent assignment of fines,” SMU biomechanics expert Peter G. Weyland said in a statement.

Cuban sent out the following tweet on Friday to promote his involvement with the study.

The NBA began reviewing possible instances of flopping this season and issuing fines, but only five players were fined $5,000 each during the regular season. Seven more have been fined in the playoffs, but NBA commissioner David Stern admitted the penalties have not been adequate.

“It isn’t enough, it isn’t enough,” Stern said earlier this week. “You’re not going to cause somebody to stop it for $5,000 when the average player’s salary is $5.5 million. And anyone who thought that was going to happen was allowing hope to prevail over reason.”

We would all love to see less of this during the most important games of the season. If Mark Cuban can donate $180,000 to help the cause, I can certainly contribute $1. Just tell me where to send it. And pay the postage for me.

Geno Auriemma: It is ‘ludicrous’ to think Brittney Griner could play in the NBA

Brittney GrinerDallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban created the exact type of buzz he was looking for on Tuesday when he told reporters that he would consider taking Baylor star Brittney Griner in the second round of the NBA Draft. While Cuban basically admitted that it would be a great business move, he also insisted he is curious to see how Griner would stack up against NBA talent.

“If she is the best on the board, I will take her,” Cuban said. “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.”

UConn women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma thinks that is a terrible idea. Auriemma was complimentary about what Cuban has done as an owner, but he said drafting Griner into the NBA would be nothing but a “sham.”

“Mark Cuban is a genius,’’ Auriemma said during a conference call on Wednesday, via The Times-Pacayune. “He’s done an awful lot for basketball. But his genius would take a huge hit if he drafted her. It would be a public relations thing, a sham. To think a woman could compete to the level of (NBA players) is ludicrous.’’

We tend to agree. Cuban might not care about his genius taking a hit with the type of money he could make, but Auriemma is probably right. And coming from someone who many consider to be the face of women’s college basketball, it holds a little more weight.

Griner is 6-foot-8 and scored 3,238 points in her career. She also blocked 736 shots. If any woman was going to be able to keep up with NBA players, she would be a good candidate. That being said, I don’t think we’ve seen a woman who can.

Photo Credit: Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE

Mark Cuban considering drafting Brittney Griner

Brittney GrinerBrittney Griner just closed out a dominant career as a women’s basketball player at Baylor, and she is likely headed to the pros. But will that be the NBA or the WNBA?

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.

Photo Credit: Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE

Mark Cuban says he is proud of Mavericks fans for booing Lamar Odom

Lamar Odom returned to the American Airlines Arena for the first time as a member of the Los Angeles Clippers to take on the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday, and he got the reception he was likely expecting. The fans were all over Odom from the start, booing him as he was removing his warm-up attire and every time he touched the ball after that.

Mark Cuban, who watched the game from his family vacation spot in the Cayman Islands, was quite pleased with the result of the 109-102 overtime victory. He was also happy with the way the fans treated Odom.

“Absolutely,” Cuban said before Thursday’s game against the Pacers when asked if he was proud of the fans, via ESPNDallas.com. “I was proud of the way everybody received Jet. Proud of the energy the crowd had [Tuesday night]. You could feel it through the TV. We felt it in the Caymans.”

Cuban was referring to the warm reception that Mavericks fans gave Jason Terry when the Boston Celtics visited. He thought Terry deserved an ovation, just as he thought Odom deserved to have boos rained down on him for the way things turned out last season.

Earlier this week, Odom admitted that he would probably apologize to Cuban if he had a conversation with him, but also said he feels no guilt over what transpired. He used a bizarre metaphor about people being married for 40 years to describe his stance, which Cuban had some fun with.

“You might be married to somebody for 40 years and then go to the Caymans,” Cuban joked. “You might just go the Caymans one time and just move there and live there for 100 years. That’s just a thing a man has to figure out.”

It’s quite obvious that Cuban has really grown to hate Lamar. However, he did say he would be willing to speak with Odom and that he is never one to hold grudges.

“Look, there’s only one person, two maybe that I still hold grudges against and neither are basketball related,” Cuban said. “You guys thought the same thing about [Don Nelson]. Nellie and I get along great. So …”

That should be interesting.