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Mavericks owner fined $600,000 for tanking comments

FILE PHOTO - Businessman Mark Cuban listens as he is introduced at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Music Film Interactive Festival 2017 in Austin, Texas, U.S., March 12, 2017. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

(Reuters) - Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was fined $600,000 for public statements detrimental to the NBA, it was announced by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver on Wednesday.

Speaking on Monday’s episode of the House Call with Dr. J podcast, Cuban said it was the Mavericks’ best interest to lose games on purpose and improve their chances of landing a higher draft pick, a strategy known as tanking.

“I’m probably not supposed to say this, but ... I just had dinner with a bunch of our guys the other night, and here we are ... we weren’t competing for the playoffs. I was like, ‘Look, losing is our best option’,” said Cuban.

“Adam would hate hearing that, but I at least sat down and I explained it to them. And I explained what our plans were going to be this summer, that we’re not going to tank again.

“This was, like, a year and a half of tanking, and that was too brutal for me. But being transparent, I think that’s the key to being kind of a players’ owner and having stability.”

The Mavericks are 18-40, tied with the Phoenix Suns for the worst record in the 30-team NBA.

The NBA has already taken measures to address the problem of teams losing games on purpose late in the season to try to get a higher draft pick.

Under the current format, the team with the worst record has a 25 percent chance of landing the number one overall draft pick, followed by 19.9 percent for the second-worst record and 15.6 percent for the third.

But last September the league’s board of governors approved changes that, starting in 2019, will see teams with the three worst regular-season records each have a 14 percent chance of winning the lottery.

Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto,; Editing by Neville Dalton