'Losing is our best option': Mark Cuban fined $600,000 for publicly admitting the Mavericks are tanking

Ethan Miller/Getty ImagesMavericks owner Mark Cuban will have to pay for his comments about tanking during a recent podcast appearance.
  • Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was shockingly open about the merits of tanking, going as far as to tell his players “Losing is our best option.”
  • On Wednesday, the NBA announced that Cuban would be fined $US600,000 for discussing his comments during a podcast.
  • The NBA has measures that will likely reduce the degree to which tanking can be effective set to be introduced next season.

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has been upfront with his players about the team’s intention to tank, and now he’ll have to pay for it.

While appearing on the “House Call with Dr. J” podcast, Cuban explained that he told players at a recent dinner that tanking was the best plan for the Mavs moving forward in 2018. Per ESPN:

“I’m probably not supposed to say this, but, like, I just had dinner with a bunch of our guys the other night, and here we are, you know, we weren’t competing for the playoffs. I was like, ‘Look, losing is our best option.’

“Adam [Silver] would hate hearing that, but I at least sat down and I explained it to them. And I explained what our plans were going to be this summer, that we’re not going to tank again. This was, like, a year-and-a-half tanking, and that was too brutal for me. But being transparent, I think that’s the key to being kind of a players owner and having stability.”

Such openness with regard to tanking is far from the norm when it comes to team ownership and management, and Cuban was right in commenting that he’s “not supposed to say” that what’s best for his franchise is to lose out – on Wednesday the NBA announced that he would be fined $US600,000 for his comments.

While tanking has been a not-so-secret strategy in the NBA,this year’s tanking could end up being the most blatant in NBA history. With nine teams so tightly knotted at the bottom of the standings, a single win can drastically sway a team’s chances in the lottery.

Chances are that tanking campaigns in years to come will be far less drastic. Next year, the NBA is adjusting the lottery so that the bottom three teams each have an equal 14% shot at the first overall pick in the draft, as opposed to the current breakdown of 25%/20%/15% chances currently doled out to the worst, second worst, and third worst teams respectively.

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