Buzz: Bank of Cuban still open, but ...

DALLAS – If the Mavericks don’t make a trade before the Feb. 21 deadline, Mark Cuban insists it won’t be due to a lack of effort.

President of basketball operations Donnie Nelson and coach Rick Carlisle have both gone on the record recently with predictions that the Mavs will stand pat. Cuban acknowledges that could be the case, but he continues to actively search for opportunities to upgrade the roster of a 22-28 team while keeping the Mavs’ future in mind.

“It takes two teams to trade,” Cuban said Monday evening. “There’s a lot of deals we would make [laughs], but nobody seems willing to do what we want to do. You never know, but nothing imminent. The bank’s still open.”

The bank is still open, but Cuban will be very judicious when determining whether a deal is worth sacrificing space under the salary cap this summer. Tampering rules prevent Cuban from coming out and saying it, but the Mavs aren’t bowing out of the Dwight Howard sweepstakes unless they can acquire a building block in the next week and a half.

“It’s gotta be something really, really, really good,” Cuban said. “It’s got to be a futures type player that we can build around or really adds a lot.”

That doesn’t necessarily mean an established All-Star. It just has to be a player the Mavs project to become an All-Star, or at least one of their top three players. Cuban points to the Mavs’ acquisition of Steve Nash back in the day as an example.

“There’s been lots of players we picked up over time that weren’t All-Stars that turned into cornerstones,” Cuban said. “We’d take those. They don’t have to be proven. They’d have to be someone we think it’s just a question of time or system or coaching or whatever.”

Cuban said he continues to discuss trade ideas with Nelson on a daily basis. He also notes that All-Star weekend tends to be the time when the trade market really heats up.

“Anything’s possible and we’re always going to be opportunistic,” Cuban said. “Nothing’s changed.”