During Tuesday night's game between the Mavericks and the Nuggets, Mavs' owner Mark Cuban decided to take it upon himself to let Denver's J.R. Smith know that he didn't appreciate an elbow that Smith attempted to land on one of his players, Antoine Wright.
Words were exchanged, George Karl felt it was inappropriate behavior, and Cuban refused Smith's peace offering of a pair of his autographed shoes afterwards. It didn't seem like that big of a deal to begin with, but apparently, the league office thinks otherwise.
A league spokesman said that "we are reviewing the events of [Tuesday] night," which, in addition to the incident between Cuban and Smith, includes whether Cuban verbally abused an official as he left the court.
Cuban has denied that there was a confrontation of any kind with an official, and said that he was responding to taunting from someone in the stands. As for the incident with Smith, Cuban thinks he should be commended for his actions, not punished for them
"As far as getting fined, I should get a medal instead. There was a real opportunity for the situation to escalate into something bad. ... They are playing it off like throwing elbows away from the play at someone's head is 'just part of the game.' Let's really hope it's not."
If the NBA determines that Cuban verbally went after an official at the end of the game, then of course, that would be worthy of a fine. But as far as talking to a player on another team on the way to the locker room at halftime, well, I just don't see what the big deal is.
Cuban has been around the NBA for long enough to know how to talk to players without taunting or harassing them -- even the ones on the opposing team. If you take him at his word that he was trying to prevent something between Wright and Smith from escalating into an altercation, then the league office should simply leave this one alone.
NBA Investigating Incident Between Mark Cuban and J.R. Smith originally appeared on NBA Main on Thu, 15 Jan 2009 13:03:00 EST . Please see our terms for use of feeds.