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Mark Cuban says biggest regret was letting Steve Nash leave Mavericks

James Foglio profile picture
Updated 2 months ago on

4 min read

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Mark Cuban says biggest regret was letting Steve Nash leave Mavericks
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In 2004, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban allowed Steve Nash to sign as a free agent with the Phoenix Suns, and it turns out that was the billionaire’s biggest regret.

During an exclusive interview with OSDB, Cuban discussed his experiences as the team’s owner. The 64-year-old has owned the Mavericks for nearly 23 years.

When asked about his biggest bust as the team owner, Cuban replied, “Probably letting Steve Nash go. Yeah, I regret that. It’s been almost 20 years now, and I still regret it.”

According to a few NBA betting sites, the Mavericks have top-15 odds of winning a championship in 2023. Without a solid replacement for Jalen Brunson, it seems improbable. Check out which sportsbooks are expecting another playoff appearance.

Nash played six seasons with the Mavericks from 1998 to 2004. Interesting enough, the guard was selected 15th overall by the Suns in the 1996 NBA Draft.

On June 24, 1998, Mark Cuban traded Pat Garrity, Martin Muursepp, Bubba Wells, and a 1999 first-round draft pick to the Suns for Nash. Based on this package, then Suns owner and G.M. Bryan Colangelo got robbed.

In the 2001-02 season, Nash averaged a then career-high 17.9 points per game. Then, in his last season with the Mavericks, the guard averaged a then career-best 8.8 assists per game.

After the Mavericks lost in five games of their 2004 first-round playoff series against the Sacramento Kings, Nash waited for his new deal. Though, Cuban never gave him an offer.

Mark Cuban believes his worst mistake as an owner was letting Steve Nash leave the Mavericks in 2004

In an interview with Ethan Thomas in 2020, the billionaire opened up about his decision to let the guard walk. He even went on to say that Nash hated him shortly after.

“That’s my biggest mistake ever,” explained Mark Cuban. “Not even close, my biggest mistake ever. He had been injured the year before and his minutes were declining, and our doctor was like, ‘He may have some issues.’”

“And coach [Don Nelson] was like, ‘He may have some issues.’ So we made him what we thought was a great offer, but then Phoenix came in and just beat that offer.”

“I’ll never forget, because he called me up and he goes: ‘They offered me more than Mike Bibby,’ and Mike Bibby had just gotten a big contract.”

“And I have it down on this calendar at my office at the arena still, it says: ‘Nash: Mike Bibby Money.’ Nash hated me for a long time because of it. We’re good now.”

Additionally, Nash went on to win two MVPs with the Suns. Plus, he received three All-NBA First-Team selections (2005–07) and two All-NBA Second-Team honors (2008, 2010).

While with the Suns, Nash also led the league in assists five times (2005–07, 2010, 2011). In 2021, the guard was named to the NBA 75th Anniversary Team. And the Suns inducted him into the franchise’s Ring of Honor.

Mark Cuban messed up royally. That’s a huge understatement. However, it’s all in the past now. All Cuban can do is learn from his mistake.

For the good news, at least the Mavericks defeated the Miami Heat in the 2011 NBA Finals, winning their first championship. Not to mention, Dirk Nowitzki spent his entire 21-year career with Dallas.

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James is a Basketball Insiders contributor. He earned his bachelor's degree in English and Creative Writing at Southern New Hampshire University. James enjoys watching sports and helping gamblers win money.

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