DALLAS - Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban on Thursday wisely addressed the elephant in the MFFL room, the relationship between young stars Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis, both acknowledging its "dust-up'' nature and downplaying its long-term significance.
"On the court they are fine,'' Cuban said in a 105.3 The Fan visit on "K&C Masterpiece.'' "That's not to say their aren't dust-ups, because there are. I'd compare it to Jet and Dirk.''
It's a sort of open secret inside the Mavs that Doncic, 22, and Porzingis, 25, are not the fast friends they were when they initially became teammates two seasons ago. But Cuban's parallel to "Jet and Dirk'' is a key one. It was 16 years ago when Jason "Jet'' Terry was acquired by the Mavs in trade. "Jet'' was a cocky, shoot-first point guard - and was the replacement for the departed Steve Nash, young Dirk's best friend in basketball.
“(Nowitzki and Terry) weren’t best friends at the beginning, but they grew to like each other and grew to be great friends and that’s just part of the process when you’ve got young kids who are growing up," Cuban said. “It took forever before Dirk and Jet did anything off the court together. A long time.''
Nowitzki and Terry went to two NBA Finals together and won a title - and remain close friends today. All of that is the hope for the future of Doncic and Porzingis.
Cuban is not denying a conflict at some level, but believes it's not an on-court issue.
"Coaches coach, and coach (Rick Carlisle) kind of runs the show,'' he said, "so everything gets worked out on the court. ... (But) KP and Luka get along fine. It’s just that they’re different people. They like to do different things.”
Cuban is of course spending a great deal of money - and Mavs fans spending money, time and passion - hoping that "doing different things'' off the court can be pushed aside while the up-and-down Mavs strive for the same things on the court ... the same things achieved by Dirk and Jet.
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