A little more than 24 hours before the Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks are set to square off, Mavs owner Mark Cuban is adding a little fuel to the fire. He said Thursday that he believes new Rockets center Dwight Howard made a "mistake in judgment" by signing with the Rockets in the offseason.
The Mavs and Rockets were two of the five teams to battle for Howard's services in free agency last summer, along with the Los Angeles Lakers (who were trying to re-sign him), the Golden State Warriors, and the Atlanta Hawks.
Cuban's reasoning: Even though the Mavericks are older, they have a better overall supporting cast of players. Cuban believes that Howard, 27, went into free agency looking to sign with the Rockets to team up with 24-year-old guard James Harden.
"You choose teams. You don't choose players," Cuban said, according to ESPN.com. "If he made a choice off of an individual player, yeah, he made a mistake. You choose teams. You choose organizations. You choose coaches. And it's just not relative to Houston. That's just the way I look at it, because if he's that good, then the right organization …
"Put aside Dwight. Any young superstar looking to make a move, if you're that good, then the right organization gets all the right pieces around you. So it's not about you'd rather play with this guy. If you're that good and you have [salary-cap] flexibility, the right organization will put the right pieces around you and get you there."
Even though Mavs star Dirk Nowitzki is 35 years old, the pair would have been a formidable duo. Cuban let center Tyson Chandler and others walk in free agency in 2011, in part, because he wanted to chase a superstar. The Mavericks missed the playoffs last season for the first time in 13 seasons.MAHONEY: Dwight Howard's first game as a Rocket says a lot about the team's future