New Twists and Turns

Cuban\’s House of Mirrors?

By: NBASCOUT / Special to

When is a deal not a deal? Apparently when you are dealing with the Dallas Mavericks\’ Mark Cuban! \”Sure, I\’ll swap Devin Harris, some expiring contracts and low first round picks for all-Star Jason Kidd and spare parts. Here, have an exploding cigar!\”*

Apologies from the Mavericks\’ organization won\’t cut it. Since when do you make a deal building in a few hidden deal-breakers you can pull the strings on in the form of \’worthless rights\’ vetoes or \’loose lips\’ penalties? If those don\’t work, do you resort to the \”losing [big man] depth\” argument?

As I\’ve said before, if there\’s a will … there\’s a way! As long as the Mavericks are acting in good faith, there should be a way to put together what is a simple deal.

The deal involves a swap of starting point guards, some expiring contracts for cap relief, draft picks and cash. The Nets have done their part of it. Dallas is still figuring out how to make their end of it work [or not]?

Do you think it fair to go about tying up the premier assets of another ball club in the form of franchise-player Jason Kidd (when he could go elsewhere) … in making a bonafide deal … only to really try and give yourself what amounts to a sneaky option on Jason … while you\’re making up your mind … or until the trade deadline passes … so that your competitors, perhaps, can\’t get ahold of him for a playoff run?

It begins to appear more and more like the foregoing is the case? How else do you explain the Devean George thing? … Or, barring that, the Stackhouse faux pas? … If those don\’t work, what else will you use? … Claim that Keith Van Horn won\’t waive his sneaker rights or that the deal is just too hard to put together?

Look it. If George won\’t cooperate (Why doesn\’t Cuban inform him his rights will be meaningless and worthless?) and you don\’t want to lose Stackhouse, then put Keith Van Horn into the transaction for any or all of it in dollar terms. That\’s the least Cuban can do to make up for the \’bad faith.\’

There are many variants of the deal that might work with other personnel to make the numbers work and the Nets are flexible. Trenton Hassell, Eddie Jones and others have been mentioned. I think the Nets and Mavericks have looked at other scenarios and possibilities to make it work to overcome any impediments.

If it doesn\’t go down in one form or the other, then it will have been Cuban\’s House of Mirrors. It is bad faith that is inexcusable. Moreover, \’pulling the strings on a deal\’ in this manner through George and Stackhouse during the precious days before the trade deadline is outrageous!

It makes you wonder if Mark Bartelstein (Mikki Moore\’s agent), Jeff Schwartz (who represents both Stackhouse and Kidd) and Mark Cuban have all cooked this up to keep the Nets \’swinging in the wind\’ as against Kidd\’s trade demand … up \’til the trade deadline … in order to wring some unreasonable concession(s) from New Jersey … or stick her with an unhappy Jason … up through the offseason … or longer? I thought Cuban wanted to make a credible playoff run this year and next with Nowitzki\’s closing window of opportunity? What gives?!!

I am cautiously optimistic that something could get done in the form of a deal, possibly in its original form [though if Dallas wants Stackhouse back then it\’s doubtful], that would send Kidd to Dallas. It\’s only a matter of a few dollars [Cuban\’s never been shy there] and substituting a few other players or, perhaps, only Keith Van Horn. [Now, if history is any guide, watch Keith Van Horn\’s agent suddenly play like Devean George or Jerry Stackhouse about Van Horn\’s sneaker rights? Have you no shame, Mr. Cuban?]

It\’s really up to Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban as to whether any deal goes down unless the leauge intervenes. If Cuban really wanted Jason Kidd down in Dallas, he\’d be there already!

It should be noted that the Mavericks didn\’t even hold their players, such as Devean George, et al, out of the game after the deal was announced like New Jersey had. You begin to wonder why the Mavericks have thrown up so many obstacles (all lacking in credibility) to the consummation of this deal?

In any event, you can\’t fault the Nets for trying! If it doesn\’t work out, maybe the Nets should just \’shut Jason down\’ (since he doesn\’t want to play with his Jersey mates anymore) until his contract expires … and $20 million comes off the books. That is, of course, if New Jersey doesn\’t get a comparable or better offer during the offseason than Dallas just made before this looming trade deadline?

NBASCOUT is an independent freelance sportswriter that covers the NBA and the New Jersey Nets. He is not affiliated with the National Basketball Association. Copyright 2005-2008 by NBASCOUT, all rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without the express written consent of the author. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and not necessarily this website. You may e-mail NBASCOUT in care-of his wife, who writes for children, at

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