Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban enjoyed the Los Angeles Lakers’ demise this season.
“The more screwed up they are, the happier I am,” Cuban told Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com when talking about the Lakers. “But I feel that way about every other franchise not in Dallas. We all go through it. Every franchise goes through cycles and when your down cycle hits you, it’s never fun.”
Los Angeles was arguably the biggest disappointment in the league this season.
Expectations were high after it signed LeBron James, but it went a mere 37-45, missed the playoffs and dealt with a number of injuries. That James missed the postseason after advancing to the last eight NBA Finals made the season all the more shocking.
The issues continued off the court, as well. Former president of basketball operations Magic Johnson resigned in a stunning press conference and has made multiple media appearances on ESPN’s First Takeand SportsCenter since.
“That’s a little bit self-serving,” Cuban said when discussing Johnson’s claim on First Take that he would be interested in buying the team. “I don’t think Magic could afford them. And that’s no disrespect to Magic. That’s a reflection of just how well Jeanie has done.”
Cuban was quick to praise owner Jeanie Buss despite taking joy in the Lakers’ struggles.
“Jeanie is smart,” he said. “I think, not to speak for Jeanie, but the hardest thing for Jeanie has been that it’s family. And so there will be a time when my kids [take over] or not my kids, and I have to make a decision on how to integrate my family and who takes on what role, and that’s not going to be easy.”
Cuban’s comments came after Baxter Holmes of ESPN.com detailed a Lakers organization that was “fraught with dysfunction, on and off the court” under Johnson and general manager RobPelinka.
Holmes cited sources who said Johnson andPelinkahelped create a work environment that “marginalized their colleagues, inspired fear and led to feelings of anxiety severe enough that at least two staffers suffered panic attacks.”
Johnson denied the allegations on SportsCenter:
“It never happened. … I never abused an employee and I never will. That’s not what I’m about.” Magic Johnson addressed the abuse allegations of Lakers’ employees. https://t.co/plzAXMjs9U
In addition to the off-court concerns, the Lakers have missed the playoffs the last six years and will need to make multiple additions this offseason to compete against the best the Western Conference has to offer, especially with James set to turn 35 in December.
Cuban’s Mavericks are not the best the West has to offer after missing the playoffs the last three years, although hope is in place even after Dirk Nowitzki retired.LukaDoncictook the league by storm in his rookie season and gives Dallas someone to build around for years to come.