Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban on Sunday floated the question of whether the Oklahoma City Thunder would be better off tanking their season and keeping injured stars Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant out for its entirety.
Cuban compared the Thunder's current situation to that of the 1996-97 San Antonio Spurs, a franchise that had earned seven consecutive playoff appearances. But center David Robinson played in only six games during the 1996-97 season, eventually sitting out the rest of the season after breaking his foot in December. The Spurs won only 20 games that season, but they grabbed Tim Duncan with the No. 1 draft pick — and the rest is history.
"The question I don't think anybody has asked is, why don't they pull a David Robinson and try to get Tim Duncan?" Cuban told reporters before the Mavericks' game against the Miami Heat on Sunday, according to ESPN.com's Tim McMahon.
Duncan and the Spurs have won five championships, with the first coming two seasons after San Antonio's disastrous 20-win campaign. The Thunder, Cuban argued, are in a similar situation: They have gotten off to a 1-5 start after injuries to both Durant and Westbrook, who broke a bone in his hand. Both players are expected to be sidelined for at least another month.
"We already specialize in a race to the bottom," Cuban said. "More participants won't change anything. They're all high-profile participants."
He added: "I'm not suggesting anything. I'm just curious why the question hasn't been asked because I'm curious what the answer is."