The Dallas Mavericks have had a rough go of things this season.
At 18-40 they currently have the third-worst record in the entire league, and could very well finish last when the regular season comes to a close in April. Though no one wants to tank, it's clearly in the Mavericks' best interest at this point to lose as many games as possible the rest of the way in order to ensure they get the best possible draft pick.
Fans and media will be sure to discuss the tanking that will go on the rest of the way from numerous teams, not just the Mavs. But, in a rare turn of events, even Dallas owner Mark Cuban has admitted it's in the team's best interest to start losing games. Via ESPN:
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban calls tanking "brutal" but acknowledged that he told his team that it would be best to lose for the rest of the 2017-18 season.
Cuban told Julius Irving on the House Call with Dr. J podcast that he shared that sentiment with the team recently.
"I'm probably not supposed to say this, but, like, I just had dinner with a bunch of our guys the other night, and here we are, you know, we weren't competing for the playoffs. I was like, 'Look, losing is our best option,'" Cuban said on the podcast. "Adam [Silver] would hate hearing that, but I at least sat down and I explained it to them. And I explained what our plans were going to be this summer, that we're not going to tank again. This was, like, a year-and-a-half tanking, and that was too brutal for me. But being transparent, I think that's the key to being kind of a players owner and having stability."
As Cuban noted, the league will not be thrilled to hear an owner publicly acknowledging that his team should try to lose games. Even though it is in the Mavericks' best interest long-term to start doing so, it's just a bad look for the team and the league to have an owner admit to trying to lose.
Plus, it's pretty interesting that Cuban actually told the players as much. It would have been interesting to see how that conversation went. The current players probably weren't thrilled to hear that they should start losing so the team could draft a player that would take one of their spots. But anyway.
During the offseason, the league put changes to the NBA Draft Lottery in place to try and prevent teams from doing just what the Mavericks are planning to do. However, those changes will not go into effect until the 2018-19 season.