LOS ANGELES -- The much-anticipated war of words between Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban that many expected would serve as a sideshow during the two teams' second-round playoff series got off to a slow start before Game 1 on Monday.
Jackson actually complimented Cuban.
When asked if Cuban would be a good person to purchase the Los Angeles Dodgers, who are currently in flux after Major League Baseball recently seized control of the day-to-day operations of the team, Jackson endorsed Cuban's candidacy.
"He'd really improve the quality of their team," Jackson said during his pregame media availability. "This is a [Dallas] team that he's improved the quality of this team almost every time he's rebuilt this team with the Mavs so I imagined he'd do the same thing in baseball."
So, does that mean Jackson appreciates Cuban's unique approach to pro sports ownership?
"I wouldn't want him behind my bench," Jackson said with a smile.
Cuban took news of Jackson's pledge of faith in stride.
"Phil's always right," Cuban said.
"I'm not going to go there at all," Cuban said.
Dave McMenamin covers the Lakers for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Ramona Shelburne contributed to this report.