All summer, Mark Cuban has made remark after remark criticizing the Rockets for a perceived lack of caring for players. Cuban has claimed that because of the Rockets reliance on analytics, they ignore the very important factor of player chemistry. Yesterday, in an interview with Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, Morey fired back, defending the Rockets and claiming that the Rockets remain the preferred free agency landing spot of the two teams.
Here's what Morey had to say:
I think [Cuban's] pissed that we went after Dirk [Nowitzki] in free agency, however unsuccessful it was.
He should want to beat up on San Antonio, too, but it's hard to paint the Spurs that way. So he's directed his bully pulpit onto us. Our owner stays above the fray, so I'm outgunned honestly.
But let's be clear: If the money's equal between the Rockets and Mavericks, I think players are picking Houston. Every time. For Dwight [Howard], I just don't think it was a hard choice between us and Dallas. If you want to win, you're going to want to join our organization. We have a first-team All-NBA player in his prime [James Harden]. They have an enormously talented superstar [Dirk Nowitzki] but he obviously isn't 24 years old.
After waiting a couple of months to respond, I'm personally happy that Morey has finally defended himself. Cuban's act is just a game, a tactical move meant to make the Rockets look bad and strengthen Dallas' bargaining position with players and agents, and, to be fair, he's full of shit. As Morey later noted in the interview, the Mavericks did essentially the same thing the Rockets did this summer before, only the Mavericks did it after winning a championship. If Cuban cared so much about his players as he claimed, he would have kept together that title team and gone for it again the next year.
The only problem is that is just not how it is done in the NBA. Morey knows this, Cuban does as well, but Cuban also knows how easy it is to oversimplify things and have people latch on to them in support. He may be a dick, but Mark Cuban is not a dumb man.