The non-deal put the Heat in a bind. They had to unload salary to complete a sign-and-trade for Jimmy Butler. The 76ers, who got Josh Richardson for Butler, were counting on that payroll reduction to sign Al Horford. A lot of dominoes were in play.
Eventually, Miami traded Hassan Whiteside to the Trail Blazers to complete the Butler deal. The Mavericks saved their cap space for Delon Wright and a run at Danny Green, who wound up with the Lakers.
But what happened with the trade that wasn’t?
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, via Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald:
“As far as we can tell, it was just miscommunication,” Cuban told me in an email exchange.
Cuban did not discuss specific players in his email but said “I was sitting in the room full of people when the call was discussed and we put the trade we thought was happening on our board. We later discussed trade kickers and added a player to make it work. They obviously thought they heard something else.”
Cuban said “there was absolutely nothing malicious that went on.”
This isn’t fair to Cuban, but his willingness to move on without spite makes me think the Mavericks were at fault. If the Heat caused the problem, Dallas would be more likely to cause a stink.
Again, that’s totally unfair. Maybe Cuban is just taking the high road. Those negotiations are in the past. Even the wronged team is better off moving on.
But it’s the conclusion I jumped to and can’t shake.