Looming Draft Question #5: Where’s Mark Cuban?

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When the Mavs pulled the trigger on the Jason Kidd deal in February, the most baffling part was why Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson were willing to include so many first-round draft picks. Kidd was unhappy, the Nets were going nowhere, and there didn’t seem to be any other teams interested in picking up his hefty contract. I felt slightly re-assured when I came to this line in Cuban’s long post explaining the deal:

And as far as the draft picks, there is no question there is risk there, but in the NBA, there is always the option to buy low first round draft picks, so we weren’t as concerned there.

Then yesterday I see that the Hornets sold the 27th pick to the Blazers — who by most accounts are trying to add veterans — and I was pissed off again. Where you at, Cuban?

See, the Mavs are maxed out on salaries with only 7 guys under contract (plus some residual money owed to D.J. Mbenga). Two of those guys gave them almost nothing down the stretch — Stack (I know, he had a couple flashes) and Eddie Jones, who’s likely to exercise his $2 million player option.

The team desperately needs to fill the holes in its bench, but really only has the mid-level exception to work with. If they split that up between a few players, then they’re betting on some pretty long odds with marginal players. If they give it all to one player– DeSagana Diop, as the DMN reports they’re considering — that still leaves quite a few holes.

Will there be any talent left late in the draft? Well, the Mavs got Howard back there and the Spurs got Barbosa, briefly. A guy like CDR might have some similar success. Or they could gamble on damaged goods like KSU’s Bill Walker.

Cuban’s come this far with the Kidd deal and if this team has any window left, it’s next year. Why not throw a few million the Grizzlies’ way and try to fill one hole with the 28th pick?

Come on, Cube, where you at?

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