Cuban’s strategy led to the Dallas Mavericks missing the postseason for the first time since 2019.
Billionaire investor Mark Cuban is famed for taking calculated risks, particularly in his role as an investor on the popular Shark Tank program.
But he owner of the Dallas Mavericks chose a different kind of tank move earlier this month that has wound up costing the team and Cuban a big chunk of change.
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The Mavericks have been fined $750,000 by the NBA after deciding to “rest” several players during their April 7 loss to the Chicago Bulls.
The team decided to sit many of its key rotation players, including Kyrie Irving, Tim Hardaway Jr., Maxi Kleber, Josh Green, and Christian Wood. The Mavs’ Slovenian superstar Luka Doncic played the first 12 minutes and 35 seconds of the game — which the Mavericks dubbed as Slovenia night — but did not return after being subbed out.
The strategy of resting players in an attempt to lose games is referred to as ‘tanking’ and is a practice that many teams around the league are suspected of. However, it is not explicitly spoken of nor done as brazenly as the Mavericks, which may have led to the steep penalty.
The Mavericks lost, eliminating the team from contention in the play-in tournament.
However, the loss also ensured the Mavericks of the tenth best odds in the NBA draft lottery. If their pick falls out of the top 10, they would have to surrender it to the New York Knicks due to a previous trade.
Mavericks Head Coach Jason Kidd told reporters before the April 7 game that the move was “an organizational decision.”
“We want to have the opportunity to find a way to get in,” Kidd said. “And we were gonna play until told otherwise. And today is the day that we’ve been told that we’re gonna do something different.”
This isn’t the first time Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has been fined for admitting to tanking. In 2018, Cuban was fined $600,000 for admitting on a podcast that he thought it would be best for his team to lose games during the 2017-18 season.
The Mavericks ended up with the fifth pick in 2018 draft, which they parlayed with other assets to trade for the third pick with which they selected Doncic.