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Mark Cuban Denies Knicks ‘Revenge’ Rumors

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Like Michael Corleone before him, Mark Cuban insists he did nothing personal, but rather “strictly business.” The New York Knicks might be inclined to disagree.

Cuban’s Dallas Mavericks are partaking in the ongoing NBA Finals but the team’s renewed success has some taking issue with how they got there. The outspoken Cuban continues to be unphased by such drama.

“I don’t care. People give me s*** all the time,” Cuban, the Mavericks’ minority owner, said prior to Game 2 of the Finals on Sunday, per Stefan Bondy of the New York Post. “You guys (the media) give me s*** all the time. Does it really matter? It’s like going on Twitter and expecting everybody to be nice to you. You know the game, you’ve been doing this forever.”

Cuban at Madison Square Garden in 2019

Nov 14, 2019; New York, NY, USA; Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban on the court before a game against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports / Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

One of Cuban’s last projects as the Mavericks’ majority owner was overseeing the dreary end of the 2022-23 season, one that saw Dallas fall from the NBA’s final four to the outskirts of the playoff picture. Though a Play-In Tournament bid was on the line, Dallas opted to rest several healthy contributors during its final two games.

The resulting losses ended the season but more or less assured that the Mavericks’ 2023 first-round pick would remain in their grasp. Had the Mavericks reached the Play-In, that choice likely would’ve transferred to the Knicks as the final piece of the Kristaps Porzingis trade from 2019.

Thanks to its top 10 protection and minimal movement at the ensuing draft lottery, the Maverick got to keep the pick, which was eventually traded to the Phoenix Suns. Dallas wound up using the 12th choice on reserve Dereck Lively, who has been a respectable contributor in the ongoing title run.

Some viewed Dallas’ shutdown as a way of getting back at the Knicks for both the trade and their signing of future franchise face Jalen Brunson. Cuban was vocal about the Knicks’ handling of the Brunson signing, taking particular issue with the team hiring his father Rick as an assistant coach prior to his arrival. The Knicks were eventually hit with a tampering charge and were docked a second-round choice in the 2025 draft.

Derek Lively Grabs a rebound in Game 1 of the 2024 Finals

Jun 6, 2024; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Dallas Mavericks center Dereck Lively II (2) reaches for the ball against the Boston Celtics during the second half of game one of the 2024 NBA Finals at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports / Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

Cuban denied vengeance in Bondy’s repot, claiming he was “not a revenge guy.” The 65-year-old further claimed that he has made peace with the elder Brunson and is said to have shaken his hand when the Mavericks hosted the Knicks’ annual North Texas visit.

“We never tanked anything,” Cuban insisted. “We just decided to play our younger players the last couple of games. But it’s (general manager) Nico Harrison’s and mine’s and (head coach) Jason Kidd’s job to make the tough decisions. Nobody who decides to rebuild effectively likes it. When you play your young players, it’s not always fun. So we just felt it was time to go young.”

Dallas was eventually fined $750,000 for sitting healthy players, a decision that NBA commissioner Adam Silver defended in his state of the league address prior to Game 1.

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