The NBA fined Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban $600,000 on Wednesday, days after the billionaire entrepreneur said losing was his team’s “best option” this season as it looks to rebuild.
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NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement that Cuban was fined “for public statements detrimental to the NBA.” The league has cracked down in recent years on the concept of “tanking” during the regular season, which allows struggling teams to improve their odds of landing a top pick in the draft lottery.
Cuban’s comments came during a Feb. 18 appearance on the “House Call with Dr. J” podcast, hosted by NBA legend Julius Erving.
"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. "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."
Cuban said last May that the Mavericks “did everything possible to lose games” once they were eliminated from playoff contention during the 2016-17 campaign. This season, the Mavericks have an 18-40 record and sit in last place in the Western Conference’s Southwest division.
The NBA has taken steps to combat tanking. Starting with the 2019 draft, the NBA will introduce new rules that will give each of the league’s worst three times a 14% change of earning the top pick in the draft lottery, down from the 25% chance the worst team currently has.
Cuban has racked up millions of dollars’ worth of fines since he purchased the Mavericks in 2000. He was previously fined $500,000 in 2002 for being publicly critical of NBA officials.
The fine was administered hours after Sports Illustrated published an extensive report detailing allegations of sexual misconduct among several Mavericks employees. Cuban said the allegations are “not a situation we condone,” and the franchise tapped an outside law firm to conduct an independent investigation.