DALLAS -- The Dallas Mavericks are testing the patience of Mark Cuban.
The outspoken owner called out his entire roster Tuesday, a day after the Mavericks fell behind by 23 and lost to Oklahoma City, which is among the worst teams in the NBA and played without its top two scorers.
"It's only one game, which I keep reminding myself of," Cuban said in Wednesday's editions of The Dallas Morning News and Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "But let's just say I wasn't happy with our preparation, execution or effort. Not only did it look like we had no idea what we were doing, but we did it without effort. The effort and energy, on both sides of the ball, by each player will decide their future with the Mavericks."
If each player can't take the personal initiative to make every game important and play like it, I don't see them being here next season.” -- Mark Cuban
Cuban has never been afraid to shake up the roster, but the Mavericks did nothing before this year's trade deadline. They are standing by the belief that trading promising young point guard Devin Harris to New Jersey for Jason Kidd would give them the veteran leadership they need to win a championship.
Dallas entered Wednesday night's game against San Antonio at 6-13 against the other playoff contenders in the Western Conference. They had won three straight before the loss to Oklahoma City, but their previous defeat was a lackluster showing in San Antonio when the Spurs were without Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili.
"If each player can't take the personal initiative to make every game important and play like it, I don't see them being here next season," Cuban said. "The ball won't always bounce the way we want it to, but every player can control their level of effort. I don't care what their contract is. I would rather turn over the roster 100 percent than subject fans to another game like last night."
Although the Mavericks are clinging to the final playoff spot in the West, they have a mathematical shot at climbing as high as No. 2. A more realistic goal is getting to the fourth seed and having the home-court advantage in the first round.
"This team has the talent to win in the playoffs," Cuban said. "But that's only going to happen if all 15 guys know and execute their assignments and play every possession like it's important."
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press
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