Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban says his team is not going to tank this season in order to get a high draft pick, but did not rule out making deals before February's trade deadline to improve the team.
The Mavericks broke an eight-game losing streak with a 91–81 over the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday. Dallas has the NBA's worst record at 3–13.
"Haters gonna hate. We think that you always compete," Cuban said. "If you're competing when the league is better, like it is this year, if you don't do well, you'll be in a position to get a good pick. Which, remember, even if you have the worst record in the NBA, there's a 75% chance you're not going to get the top pick."
Cuban said tanking isn't the right way to build a better team, but also added that he doesn't think any players eligible to declare for next June's draft have the ability to change his franchise.
"The only way you overcome that is to have the ultimate superstar carry you through, and it's tough to draft the ultimate superstar," Cuban said. "I don't see any Shaqs or LeBrons or Tim Duncans in this draft, so I don't think that's the right way to do it. You just ignore the haters, let them b----, and go about your business."
Since winning the NBA title in 2011, the Mavericks' last four playoff appearances have ended in first-round defeats.
Dallas is last in the NBA in scoring and point differential, but Cuban says he is not going to panic this early in the season.
"We'll see what happens across the course of the season to see if anybody emerges like that, but I'm not panicking, not rushing to judgment, not pulling the plug—pick a euphemism," Cuban said.
– Scooby Axson