NEW ORLEANS -- Mark Cuban did everything but light up a cigar to signify one of those I-told-you-so moments.
The Dallas Mavericks' owner was asked about the mess that the Brooklyn Nets have created, and was basking in the glory of the moment. Cuban knows the Nets have the highest payroll in the NBA at $102.2 million, and knows that Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov is in a position were Mavs' fans wanted Cuban to be in two years ago.
Strapped by the salary cap.
The Mavs won the NBA title in 2011 and decided to allow several key pieces to walk via free agency, including Tyson Chandler, JJ Barea, Caron Butler and JJ Barea. And the following season Jason Terry and Jason Kidd left the Mavs' stable.
Had Cuban adhered to the wishes of the players -- and the Mavs' fans -- and re-signed all those players, he would have been in the same position the Nets are on right now. Handcuffed with a bunch of bloated salaries tied to a bunch of old guys on their last legs -- save Barea.
That scenario would have prevented the Mavs from having any salary cap flexibility going forward, because Cuban would have been fighting a massive luxury tax bill with an aging team like the one the Nets have. With luxury tax responsibilities, the Nets' will have to fork over $190 million in salary this season.
"It's not just you're stuck for a week or you're stuck for half a season, you're stuck,'' Cuban said. "Now the rules have gotten worst you're even more stuck.
"If you look across the board a lot of guys would have been our guys and they've been hurt a lot. One's a coach now (in Kidd) and two of our key players (Chandler and Terry) would have been hurt. You never know, but that was definitely a fear.''
Cuban said he hasn't had any conversations with Prokhorov in an attempt to tell him to pump the breaks on those crazy high salaries for aging players.
"He's fun, he's a great guy, he's funny as (expletive delete),'' Cuban said. "But I haven't really hung out with him.
"I haven’t done any vodka. I've been invited to, I just haven’t had a chance to get to Moscow and do it.''
-- Dwain Price
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