Mavs Cuban Exclusive: 'We're Not Tanking'

A few days ago, Deron Williams was No. 4 on the Mavs' ranking of scrap-heap FA point guards. Today? He's No. 1. A few days ago, Mark Cuban talked of 'Team Tank.' Today? The Mavs owner tells, 'We are not (tanking). We're moving forward.'

The Dallas Mavericks were devastated by the DeAndre defection. So ... "Team Tank''? Nope. They follow up on and the yes from Wes by fulfilling their financial promise to him. They trade a second-round pick for Zaza to play center.

"No,'' owner Mark Cuban tells me when I ask him about "Team Tank.'' "We've added Wes ... we're getting a center ... We are not (tanking). We're moving forward.''

And now they are forced to "move forward'' by doing an about-face on Deron Williams.

The Mavs absolutely, positively have NEVER "prioritized'' Deron Willams, the overpaid Nets point guard who was, a few years back, Dallas' big-fish target. Sources told four days ago, in fact, that Williams "is fourth on our list'' of prospective pickups -- and of course that's only in the event that the Nets waive him, as Dallas is obviously unwilling and unable to absorb the two years and $42 mil left on his existing contract.

So there were four PGs ranked on Dallas' "Available'' board above Deron. But while they fiddled wirh DeAndre, Jeremy Lin bolted for Charlotte. And Mo Williams signed with Cleveland. And Cory Joseph went home to Toronto.

So the idea of a Mavs trade for Deron was ... unreal. Bogus, Whatever term you wanna use to deride the idea to your friends it's even under discussion. Fiction. Fraud. Pure BS. All the above.

In practical terms (and almost in absolute ones, assuming you must keep Dirk Parsons DeAndre, Wes and rookie Anderson) it was virtually cap-impossible. And besides, no way the Mavs want his contract on their books. ... next year. It's too big and it's too long ($22 mil more in 2016-17) and would absolutely prevent a chase of Kevin Durant or anyone of his ilk in the summer of 2016.

Now, all along, if the Nets wanted to waive him (see below on that), he might becomes a consideration. But not even a high consideration compared to a trio of other ideas.

But now? Steiny-Mo is reporting that Deron is working to secure his escape from Brooklyn. The Nets are on-record as saying they won't do a buy-out on Williams, but that is obviously changing. And heck, isn't everything changing? Now we hate DeAndre, embrace Parsons as a hero, deal with Tyson and Monta being gone for nothing, try to get excited about Zaza, And now you know that, at the same time, Dallas isn't very excited about doing a buy-in on Williams, celebrate Jeremy Evans and Charlie Villanueva ... and think back to a few years ago when "the best thing that happened to us was not getting Deron,'' as this organization likes to say about that failed FA attempt a few years ago.

You know my thoughts on tanking. It invites a cancer into an organization that might never leave. And it guarantees nothing in terms of a quick lottery-based turnaround. But you know what else NOT tanking does? It pleases the head coach, in the final year of his existing contract, who wants to win titles, not win 11 games.


I bet Rick Carlisle does not endorse "Team Tank.'' A good enough reason for Cuban to alter his thinking on it.

Devin and JJB are here. Raymond Felton is here, too, but in this ever-changing Mavs world, take a look at Wes Matthews' official photoshop from the Mavs PR department. See it? I'm told Wes' arms are crossed over his jersey number (which has always been No. 2) because his jersey number is also Felton's, and ... well, everything is in limbo. Everything is changing. No. 2 is unassigned. No. 4 is No. 1.

And "Team Tank'' ... isn't.

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