The Dallas Mavericks take on the Houston Rockets tonight and it could have been a very different matchup if Mark Cuban had his way.
Following his Mavericks' championship runs, Cuban opted to take on short-term salary to make a run at point guard Deron Williams and center Dwight Howard. Williams opted to stay with the Nets. Howard remained indecisive, ended up playing a year in Los Angeles and then spurned the Mavericks again.
Howard had a stellar debut for the Rockets with a career-high 26 rebounds in the opener against the Bobcats. And now he gets to face Cuban again.
And Cuban still believes Howard would have been better off with the Mavericks. And Cuban expressed this opinion in only the way Cuban can:
Obviously, he made a mistake in judgment. Do I blame him? No, that’s what young kids do. They make mistakes in judgment.
You choose teams. You don’t choose players. If he made a choice off of an individual player, yeah, he made a mistake. You choose teams. You choose organizations. You choose coaches.
Cuban was joking somewhat in telling Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News his feelings toward Dwight Howard's decision. He certainly means well too when he said players should pick the organization they want to be with for the next stages of their career rather than picking teams based on the players they currently have. If there is one thing that is clear in professional sports, it is that organizations can dispose of players relatively quickly.
The Mavericks though took that extra free agent money and turned it back into Monta Ellis and Jose Calderon. In the first game with the Mavs, the two helped them put on a rout of the Hawks.
No telling whether that will carry over to the second game of the season tonight in Houston.
Howard will surely be ready for another performance that will make the Mavericks owner regret not wrangling in the Rockets new center.