Tim Bontemps: NBA is Mad at Mavericks Because They 'Made a Mockery of the Play-In Tournament'

Chicago Bulls v Dallas Mavericks
Chicago Bulls v Dallas Mavericks / Tim Heitman/GettyImages

The Dallas Mavericks are in some hot water after they tanked over the weekend to avoid the playoffs in an attempt to keep their 2023 first-round draft pick. The pick will go to the New York Knicks if it falls outside of the top-10. By losing their last three games, the Mavs ensured they would have the 10th-best lottery odds, which means if all goes as expected then they should keep the pick. The NBA is reportedly displeased about how this happened, though; teams tanking for picks is not new. But Jason Kidd told reporters he'd been ordered to bench Luka Doncic as soon as possible on Saturday. Such transparency is not appreciated by the league.

ESPN's Tim Bontemps went on television on Monday to explain why the higher-ups are so mad about this Mavs thing when most of the fans see it as business as usual. He said the NBA feels the Mavs "made a mockery of the play-in tournament" and thus will be under heavy scrutiny.

It is objectively funny phrasing to say the Mavs made a mockery of something that did not exist four years ago and holds zero value to anybody other than Adam Silver. It is also rather amusing that an entity as large and all-encompassing as the NBA could feel "embarrassed" by the actions of one team.

Honestly the only entity that should feel embarrassed is Mark Cuban. The man forced his coach to sit his Slovenian superstar on the team's Slovenia Night, but didn't have the guts to do it for the whole game. Instead he settled for a half-measure and let Doncic play one quarter, all to secure the 10th-best odds in the draft, which is statistically unlikely to produce a player of value. And this all came after trading for Kyrie Irving (of all people) in an effort to make the playoffs this year. If the lottery balls do not bounce Dallas' way, then it was literally all for nothing.

The NBA should let teams like the Mavericks spill all over themselves in public. That humiliation (and justified outrage from their own fans) is more effective than anything the league could reasonably do.