The High Cost of Tanking: Mavericks Hit with $750,000 Fine by the NBA

Dallas Mavericks fined $750,000 for tanking vs Chicago Bulls as NBA brand it ‘detrimental’ conduct… but rival fans rage at charging billionaire owner Mark Cuban ‘pocket change’

The Dallas Mavericks have been fined $750,000 by the NBA for their tanking efforts against the Chicago Bulls in an elimination on April 7.

The NBA ruled the franchise violated the league’s player resting policy and demonstrated a desire to lose the game in order to boost its chance of retaining its first-round pick in the 2023 draft.

In a statement released Friday, the NBA’s Executive Vice President Joe Dumars said: ‘The Dallas Mavericks’ decision to restrict key players from fully participating in an elimination game last Friday against Chicago undermined the integrity of out sport. The Mavericks’ actions failed our fans and our league.’

However, the league said it did not find that the players who participated in the game were not playing to win.

The NBA launched an investigation into potential tanking efforts by the Mavericks following their 115-112 defeat to the Bulls.

The Mavericks have been fined $750,000 by the NBA for their tanking efforts against the Bulls
The NBA (pictured commissioner Adam Silver) ruled Dallas violated the player resting policy
Vice President Joe Dumars said the Mavericks' actions 'failed our fans and our league'

Dallas did not play Kyrie Irving (right foot injury), Josh Green (rest), Tim Hardaway Jr. (left ankle soreness), Maxi Kleber (right hamstring injury recovery) and Christian Wood (rest), while Luka Doncic played in only the first quarter of the game.

The Mavericks went on to blow an 11-point fourth-quarter lead with the defeat officially eliminating them from postseason contention.

That outcome also could help ensure that Dallas has a top-10 draft pick this summer – and with it, potentially a 4.5 percent chance of winning the lottery and getting the opportunity to select French phenom Victor Wembanyama.

Following the game, Maverick’s coach Jason Kidd appeared to hint that it had been an intentional move as he said it was an ‘organizational decision’ that he agreed with.

After the game Kidd told reporters: ‘It’s not so much waving the white flag. It’s decisions sometimes are hard in this business, and you have to make hard decisions.

‘We’re trying to build a championship team, and sometimes you got to take a step back. Understanding with this decision, this is maybe a step back, but hopefully it leads to going forward.’

In its statement, the league said it found the Mavericks to have demonstrated ‘through actions and public statements’ the organization’s desire to lose the game in order to improve its chances of keeping its first-round pick.

Commissioner Adam Silver made clear before the season began that the league wouldn’t tolerate any obvious attempts at tanking.

Mavericks' star guard Luka Doncic (right) played in only the first quarter of the game
The result could help boost the Mavericks' chances of drafting Victor Wembanyama (right)
Dallas head coach Jason Kidd said it was an 'organizational decision' that he agreed with

‘I know that many of our NBA teams are salivating at the notion that potentially through our lottery that they could get (Wembanyama), so they should all still compete very hard next season,’ Silver said in October.

Their 2023 first-round pick is currently slated to be the 10th overall pick and the loss against Chicago, combined with a potential defeat against the San Antonio Spurs could go a long way towards ensuring that pick stays in the top 10.

Dallas’ pick however was sent to the New York Knicks with a top-10 protection as part of the Kristaps Porzingis trade in 2019. If the pick remains in the top-10 it would stay with the Mavericks and move to New York in 2024.

However, rival fans were critical of the NBA’s decision as they claimed the punishment was not harsh enough.

‘I get how bad the optics were of the Mavericks moves to tank but these selective punishments are not going to work NBA has to decide their full stance on tanking and stick to it,’ one social media user tweeted.

‘What’s the point of the fine? Like how does this hender [sic] the Mavs from doing business as usual,’ another account asked. ‘Does the fine reduce their salary cap by $750k? No. So, I just don’t get the point of these fines. Slap on the wrist.’

Many claimed the financial consequences would mean nothing to the team with $750,00 unlikely to dent owner Mark Cuban’s millions, while others believed Dallash should have lost its pick.

‘They fined a billionaire pocket change lol,’ one NBA supporter tweeted, referring to Cuban.

Another echoed their thoughts by posting: ‘This is the equivalent of giving a $10 fine to the average person. Might as well do it again.’

Rivals fans were critical of the NBA's decision, claiming the punishment was not harsh enough

‘Real tough, @NBA,’ another added. ‘I’m sure they’ll learn. BTW – Mark Cuban makes this much $ in a week.’

‘I thought they where gonna lose their pick or something lol, that’s it?’ a Brooklyn Nets fan account asked, while another basketball fan account added, ‘Should’ve lost a draft pick if were being honest.’

Maverick’s owner Mark Cuban was previously fined $600,000 in 2018 for tanking after remarks made during a podcast with Basketball Hall of Fame player Julius Erving, which Commissioner Silver called ‘public statements detrimental to the NBA.’

The Mavericks were well on their way to what became a 24-58 season when Cuban spoke to Erving and discussed tanking.

Later, Cuban acknowledged he had ‘earned’ the fine, telling the Associated Press at the time that he ‘got excited talking to Dr. J and said something I shouldn´t have.’

Maverick's owner Mark Cuban was previously fined $600,000 in 2018 for tanking

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