Mavs owner didn't think his offer would be trumped

Updated: July 4, 2004, 12:35 AM ET
Associated Press

DALLAS -- Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was stunned by the contract offer that lured free agent Steve Nash to the Phoenix Suns.

Cuban addressed losing the All-Star point guard on his Web log Saturday.

Cuban wrote that he deliberated carefully before offering Nash a five-year, $51 million deal, believing that the Suns wouldn't be able to top it.

So when the Suns quickly offered a five-year contract, with a potential sixth season, worth at least $65 million, Cuban was faced with a difficult decision.

"It wasn't easy for me. I knew it wasn't going to be easy for anyone associated with, or fans of the Mavs. It was Steve's choice to leave for money. It was my choice not to pay him the money," Cuban wrote.

On Thursday, the first day that free agents could negotiate, it didn't appear that it would end this way for the Mavericks and their longtime star.

"I told Steve directly that I wanted to be fair, and that I wanted to pay him more than any other team," Cuban wrote. "I said that I didn't want to negotiate against ourself and play games. That if another team came in and paid him a max like deal, what I called an extreme deal, outside the norm, then he would have to take it. "

Cuban had expected that to be enough to keep Nash. He was to hear back from him in a couple of days, but he unexpectedly received a call the same day.

"To make a long story short, Steve said he got an incredible offer from the Suns," Cuban wrote. "He wouldn't tell me the exact numbers, but every time I said a number, he said it was more. He said they flew down a whole group of people, including Amare Stoudemire to recruit him."


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press

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