Cuban: 'Nothing's changed' on Nets' long-term outlook

DALLAS -- Mark Cuban offered high praise Sunday evening for Brooklyn’s head coach.

The Nets’ front office? Not so much.

Only a couple of Western Conference contenders, the San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Clippers, have better records than rookie head coach Jason Kidd’s Brooklyn Nets since the calendar flipped to 2014. That success prompted Cuban to be complimentary of the coaching job performed by the former Mavericks point guard.

“In 2014, he’s done a phenomenal job,” Cuban said before the Nets’ overtime win over the Mavs on Sunday night. “They’re playing well. His style works. And they are who their record says they are.”

However, Cuban didn’t back off his early-season comments that the Nets were an example of a team that is “stuck” with a bloated payroll and veteran-heavy roster with extremely limited avenues of upgrading. In early December, after Brooklyn had stumbled to a 5-13 start, Cuban cited the Nets’ situation as his fear for the Mavs had he opted to keep Dallas’ 2011 title roster intact under the new collective bargaining agreement.

“I still look at it the same way,” Cuban said before the Nets’ 107-104 overtime win over the Mavs on Sunday night. “Nothing’s changed.”

Cuban meant that his long-term outlook for the Nets hadn’t changed, but the path of their season certainly has. Brooklyn was 10-21 after December and is 27-10 since.

Much of the credit for that turnaround goes to Kidd, who angered Cuban by reneging on a verbal commitment to re-sign with the Mavs in the summer of 2012, changing his mind and going to the New York Knicks for what ended up being his final season in an NBA uniform. But Cuban dropped the grudge after Kidd’s retirement as a player, and the relationship between the two has been repaired.

“We actually would email back when he was struggling and I would try to encourage him,” Cuban said. “He doesn’t need any encouragement now.”

If Cuban is right, Kidd might need more encouragement in the future.