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Cuban Says Blame Laker Organization

October 29, 2003|Steve Springer | Times Staff Writer

While others argue whether Shaquille O'Neal or Kobe Bryant is to blame for their public feud, Dallas Maverick owner Mark Cuban points his finger at the Laker organization.

"If the president and the CEO of a corporation were speaking publicly like that, you'd have to say the board of directors was doing something wrong," Cuban said. "By the time a problem grows in an organization to where the most visible figures are venting publicly, it means ... people are not doing their jobs. The organization didn't deal with the problem. If you don't recognize it in advance, it's going to come to a head. If someone has to vent publicly, it's probably not the first place they looked to vent. You would think they first tried to deal with it internally."

Was Cuban specifically pointing to owner Jerry Buss, General Manager Mitch Kupchak or Coach Phil Jackson?

"It's not a backhanded slap at anyone," Cuban said. "If we had two players who feuded publicly, I'd be mad at myself because none of that should happen on its own. Rare is the time you see us nail a player in public.... I can't speak to the Laker organization, but if there's an issue with the Mavericks, I may not be the best person to communicate with the player, but I'll make sure the person who is is involved."

Cuban doesn't buy the idea that O'Neal and Bryant are arguing about who gets the ball and the credit.

"There's something bigger there," he said. "They are smart guys and there is something they are not getting. And I don't think it's about shots and I don't think it's about whose team it is.

"If anybody can repair the problem, probably Phil Jackson can. I'm just glad the story is on their side of the court, not ours."

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