With the lockout-shortened 66-game season precluding many out-of-conference games this year, the NBA's league office had to be judicious in what teams met whom half a country away. Certain considerations had to be made, like for Derrick Rose to visit Kobe Bryant at some point, or for the Dallas Mavericks to line up against the Miami Heat in a rematch of last June's NBA Finals.
Or, for the Mavs to score a game in Washington, so as to make it easier for Mark Cuban's team to meet President Barack Obama as he congratulates the 2011 NBA champions. Because a Mavs/Wizards pairing isn't exactly appointment viewing, though, the NBA passed on such a visit. And Cuban isn't happy about it:
"It doesn't change the fact that they didn't (schedule) a game in DC for us," the Mavericks owner wrote Tuesday in an email. "Given the compressed schedule it should have been more of a priority because they knew better than any of us how few days off we would have to do something."
Cuban said Monday night in Dallas that "the league office was stupid or dumb or worse" to not schedule the defending champions in Washington so they could have the traditional trip to meet the president. But the NBA noted that scheduling that game wouldn't have necessarily meant seeing President Barack Obama.
"Our jurisdiction doesn't extend to scheduling the president, and scheduling the Mavericks against the Wizards would have been no guarantee that the president would be in town and available," league spokesman Mike Bass said.
That's the best way to put it. A "priority." Cuban's champs nearly became the first NBA team to miss out on a meeting with the prez since the 1999 Bulls had to decline after the team's front office dismantled the team and left just four incumbent players. The sitting president, at the time, had his own impeachment hearings to worry about.
The NBA is right to point out that the president's open schedule, say for a Jan. 9 meeting before a Mavs/Wizards game, isn't exactly a guaranteed thing. But given that the release of the schedule would have been a month old at that point, and Obama's love for all things orange and leathery (save for John Boehner, hey-oh!) we're pretty sure he would have been able to move a few things around.
Now, if he could only help the Mavs move their cap situation around, and find a way to bring back Tyson Chandler.