DALLAS — The Dallas Mavericks have been fined $750,000 by the NBA for “conduct detrimental to the league” after an investigation into the franchise’s decision to sit several key players for the April 7 loss that eliminated the team from play-in contention.
The NBA commenced an investigation the day after the Mavs rested All-Star guard Kyrie Irving, shooting guard Tim Hardaway Jr., small forward Josh Green, power forward/center Christian Wood and power forward/center Maxi Kleber for the 115-112 loss to the Chicago Bulls. All-Star guard Luka Doncic played the first 12 minutes, 35 seconds before leaving the game.
Before the game, coach Jason Kidd cited “an organizational decision,” attributing it to Mavs governor Mark Cuban and general manager Nico Harrison.
The league determined that the Mavericks “violated the NBA’s player resting policy and demonstrated through actions and public statements the organization’s desire to lose the game in order to improve the chances of keeping its first-round pick” in this draft, according to a news release from the NBA.
“The Dallas Mavericks’ decision to restrict key players from fully participating in an elimination game last Friday against Chicago undermined the integrity of our sport,” Joe Dumars, NBA executive vice president/head of basketball operations, said in a statement from the league office. “The Mavericks’ actions failed our fans and our league.”
The Mavs owe a top-10-protected pick to the New York Knicks as the final payment for the Kristaps Porzingis trade made in 2019. The loss to the Bulls broke a tie between the teams for the 10th-best odds in the draft lottery. Dallas protected those odds with a season-ending 138-117 loss to the San Antonio Spurs, a game in which Doncic, Irving and the vast majority of the Mavs’ regular rotation did not play.
“It’s not so much waving the white flag,” Kidd said after the loss to the Bulls. “It’s [that] decisions sometimes are hard in this business. We’re trying to build a championship team. With this decision, this is maybe a step back. But hopefully it leads to going forward.”
Cuban was fined $600,000 in 2018 for publicly admitting that the Mavericks were tanking, saying on NBA legend Julius Erving’s podcast that he had taken the team’s veteran players to dinner and explained to them, “Losing is our best option.”
Cuban also admitted that Dallas tanked in 2017, saying after that season on “The Dan Patrick Show” that the Mavs “did everything possible to lose games” once they were eliminated from the playoffs.