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Cuban says Mavericks will keep Kidd, want to re-sign Irving, Brunson’s father changed everything

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With things getting ugly in Dallas — the Mavericks need help to make even the No.10 seed and the play-in — Mark Cuban spoke to reporters to spin everything to clear the air on some key issues before his Mavericks kept their postseason hopes alive with a win Wednesday.

First, despite the team’s stumbles of late, the Mavericks want to re-sign Kyrie Irving. This has been reported before — including by NBC Sports — but Cuban confirmed it.

Cuban added everything he had read about Irving was “100% wrong” and that he has been a great teammate and part of the organization.

Dallas doesn’t really have a choice but to re-sign Irving. With all the assets they have traded away in recent years to get a star next to Luka Dončić — plus watching Jalen Brunson walk (more on that is coming, keep reading) — they don’t have a way to replace Irving if he leaves. Dallas plans to re-sign Irving, use their draft picks and anything else not nailed down to trade for better defenders and shooters to put around their stars, and hope the chemistry clicks next season. (If it doesn’t they can trade Irving, who will have some value.) Irving is a free agent and could choose to walk, but the market for his services may not be as robust as he hopes, making Dallas the best option.

Jason Kidd will be back to coach that team next season, Cuban confirmed.

Cuban didn’t blame Kidd for the Mavericks’ failings this season, particularly on defense — Dallas is 23rd in the league this season — and instead took the blame himself.

Cuban also talked about the most high-profile roster change in Dallas from last season to this, Brunson leaving as a free agent for the Knicks.

Brunson said that he would have signed a four-year, $55.5 million extension if it was offered before the season or in December or January, when he thought it would be put on the table, but that the Mavericks never made the offer. By the time Dallas did get serious after the trade deadline, Brunson had played his way into a much larger contract (he ultimately signed for four years, $104 million in New York).

Cuban disputed the idea Brunson would have signed in January, said Dallas was never really given a chance, laid the blame at the feet of Jalen’s dad Rick Brunson, and was reading reporters emails he said were between Mavs GM Nico Harrison and Jalen’s agent to bolster his case. Here is Cuban’s comment, via Tim MacMahon of ESPN.

“Where it went south was when Rick took over, when the parent took over, or parents took over,” Cuban said...

“We thought that we could turn him around,” Cuban said when asked why Dallas didn’t trade Brunson before last season’s deadline. “We wanted to re-sign him and we wanted to keep the season going together. We thought, ‘cause JB kept on telling us he liked being here. JB never gave us an indication. It was only the parents that were the issue. Even the agent said, worst case, we can do a sign-and-trade.”


Dallas could have had Brunson at a bargain price before the season but didn’t anticipate his breakout year, and whenever the tide turned against Dallas it was too late to the party.

Cuban added he thinks they have a good shot at keeping Irving, something Mavericks fans can debate while they watch the Knicks in the playoffs.