Mark Cuban addresses replacing Dirk Nowitzki
The Heat and Dallas Mavericks have had a respectful, albeit at times contentious rivalry of sorts, through two NBA Finals matchups over the past 15 years.
But the bizarre developments of the opening night of free agency - when the Heat and Mavericks had totally different perceptions about which players would be included in a trade - apparently haven’t foiled the relationship between the franchises.
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban indicated there are no hard feelings from that night, when a proposed trade was canceled after an apparent misunderstanding about which Heat players would be sent to Dallas.
“As far as we can tell, it was just miscommunication,” Cuban told me in an email exchange.
As part of a sign-and-trade with Philadelphia involving Jimmy Butler, the Heat --- according to multiple reports the night of June 30 --- agreed to send Goran Dragic to Dallas.
Three hours later, several media outlets --- including The Miami Herald and New York Times --- reported that Dallas believed it was getting Kelly Olynyk and Derrick Jones Jr. in the deal, not Dragic.
Another Heat player would have been needed beyond Olynyk and Jones Jr. to satisfy league salary cap rules. The Heat definitely did not want to trade Jones and preferred dealing Dragic than a Jones/Olynyk combo.
Cuban did not discuss specific players in his email but said “I was sitting in the room full of people when the call was discussed and we put the trade we thought was happening on our board. We later discussed trade kickers and added a player to make it work. They obviously thought they heard something else.”
Cuban said “there was absolutely nothing malicious that went on.”
And Cuban made this clear, too:
“We get along great with the Heat and have done many deals with them. Wires just got crossed somehow.”
The Mavericks have great respect for Dragic but were hoping to use their cap space in other ways and found what they hope will be their long-term point guard solution in Delon Wright.
After the trade with the Mavericks fell apart, the Heat conveyed to Dragic’s camp that it would try to trade him to accommodate cap requirements to execute the Butler sign and trade, according to league sources.
But when Portland offered to take Hassan Whiteside for Mo Harkless (then re-routed to the Clippers) and Meyers Leonard, that eliminated Miami’s need to trade Dragic. And the Dragic camp was then told that he would remain on the Heat barring something unforeseen.
The Heat has declined to comment about what led to the misunderstanding with Dallas or anything involving the matter.
The Heat will open the preseason at home against San Antonio on Oct. 8 and open the regular season at home on Oct. 23 against Memphis, according to a league source, with the full regular-season schedule to be announced in the coming days.