Mark Cuban discounts Lakers moves

DALLAS -- Mark Cuban isn't going to crown any NBA team in September.

The Los Angeles Lakers hogged offseason headlines by acquiring two potential Hall of Famers in point guard Steve Nash and center Dwight Howard to play alongside proven champions Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol. However, the Dallas Mavericks owner cited recent history as proof that offseason splashes don't guarantee postseason celebrations.

"The Lakers have done this before. Gary Payton and Karl Malone and Kobe and Shaq were all together, and it didn't work," Cuban said Monday, referring to the 2003-04 Lakers, who lost in the Finals, when introducing his team's acquisitions to the media and season-ticket holders. "It takes great chemistry. ... It takes guys wanting to be there. I don't know if all their guys want to be there."

Cuban may have been referring to Howard, who can become a free agent after this season.

"It's going to be interesting," Cuban continued. "Look, they're going to have a great team, but I remember when we made our run, we weren't supposed to win any series. Remember the Lakers were the defending champs, and we swept them and they had everybody back.

"A lot of teams do a great job of winning the summer, but I never get so antsy about what happens over the summer. I just want to know what happens during the season. As long as we keep on getting better and we're healthy going into the playoffs, then anything can happen."

There was no way the Mavs were going to win the summer after Deron Williams decided to move to Brooklyn with the Nets instead of returning home to play in Dallas.

The Nets are another team that got a lot of attention in July. They persuaded Williams to remain the face of their franchise in part by trading for Joe Johnson despite his monster contract and re-signing Gerald Wallace to a rich deal.

The Mavericks not only missed out on Williams, they also saw super sub Jason Terry go to the Celtics. Dallas did sign guard O.J. Mayo, got forward Elton Brand on a waiver claim from Philadelphia, signed center Chris Kaman and acquired Darren Collison and Dahntay Jones in a trade from Indiana.

"I never get too excited about what teams do on paper," said Cuban, who claims he believes in hindsight the Mavs are better off without signing Williams to a max deal that would have eaten up all their cap space. "It all comes down to what you do on the court, and I think we've put ourselves in great position to really do good things this year, and I think we've put ourselves in position to keep our players. So when they do great things, they can all grow together. And that's our goal.

"Again, the Lakers will do what the Lakers do. The Nets or whoever will do what they do. But I think we've put ourselves in great position."