LOS ANGELES – Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban didn't waste much time Thursday letting everyone know what he thinks about the Los Angeles Clippers.
"I just don't give a [expletive] about the Clippers," Cuban said prior to Dallas' game against the Clippers.
"You can change the owner, you can change the players, but the Clippers are who they've been for the past 30 years," Cuban said.
Cuban's animosity toward the Clippers stems from his failed recruitment of center DeAndre Jordan during the offseason. On Thursday, the Mavericks played against Jordan for the first time since he rescinded his verbal commitment during free agency last summer to play for them. Jordan initially agreed to a four-year, $80 million deal with Dallas after being wined and dined by Cuban and forward Chandler Parsons. But just days before being able to sign, Jordan broke unwritten protocol by changing his mind and re-signing with the Clippers to a five-year, $110 million contract.
"Your job as a player – one job as a player – get it right," Rivers said.
Jordan appeared to make the right decision during the Clippers' 104-88 blowout over the injury-plagued Mavericks. He had six points, 15 rebounds and four blocks in 25 minutes and sat out the fourth quarter as the Clippers cruised to a 2-0 start. He also declined to talk about why he spurned the Mavs.
"I talked about that in July so if you guys want to go to YouTube and look at that and the press conference," Jordan said. "But I will talk about anything that happened in the game tonight. We can talk about that."
In the timeframe between Jordan committing to Dallas and rescinding, the Mavericks' potential roster took a hit as several key free agents committed elsewhere. Cuban went to Houston to try to talk to Jordan, but he wouldn't return his call as Rivers and several Clippers players hung out in his home prior to his re-signing.
One source close to the Mavericks called Jordan's decision to change his mind "a somber day."
"It was really quiet that morning," the source said. "When Cuban went to Houston, you knew things were going wrong. There was nothing the Mavericks did wrong. DeAndre is still young in the head. Doc knew that they had to stay that night before he signed to make sure DeAndre didn't change his mind again. If Cuban were able to get in his house, he would've changed his mind back."
The Mavericks were left to replace Jordan with journeyman center Zaza Pachulia in free agency. Dallas also signed guards Wesley Matthews and Deron Williams to build a new starting backcourt. Cuban says he likes the Mavericks' roster better without Jordan.
"We came out way ahead," Cuban said. "Different people have different responsibilities and it's better to find out when they don't match up before you do a deal. I thought we had a great summer between D-Will and Wesley."
Parsons said he has moved on from Jordan's change of plans, but the initial news was tough for him to take.
"He was one of my really good friends, so when he told me something I took his word," said Parsons, who told Yahoo Sports he hopes to make his season debut Sunday against the Lakers after recovering from offseason knee surgery. "Just a little surprised, but he didn't do anything illegal."
Dirk Nowitzki, the Mavericks' all-time leading scorer, said he doesn't hold any resentment toward Jordan. Unlike Cuban, Nowitzki also respects the Clippers.
"We texted right after. He made it sound like to me that it was still open," Nowitzki said about Jordan. "Once he changed it, I didn't hear back anymore. It was what it was. We were disappointed, but we had to move on as a franchise."
Cuban said he expected nothing more than "a lot of stare-downs" entering this Clippers showdown. Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle intentionally fouled Jordan, a notoriously poor free-throw shooter, to send him to the foul line. There was some humor as Cuban and Ballmer were shown on the "Kiss Cam" on the video scoreboard. There also was some heat after Jordan inadvertently elbowed Nowitzki in the head late in the second quarter.
Nowitzki followed with a tough personal foul on Jordan with 1:41 left in the second quarter. Nowitzki and Jordan had words, but the incident didn't escalate. Jordan, Clippers forward Blake Griffin and Mavericks guard Raymond Felton were given technical fouls in the aftermath of Nowitzki's hard foul.
"It's an NBA foul and it's an emotional game," Jordan said. "Nothing against Dirk at all."
Said Nowitzki: "He hit me [with] an elbow, probably inadvertently. The next time down he got the rebound and I just tried to foul him. I tried not to let him dunk, but that's about it."
Rivers recalled hating the gritty "Bad Boys" Detroit Pistons in the late 1980s and early 1990s when he played for the Atlanta Hawks. These days, it's the Clippers who aren't popular among their peers.
The reigning NBA champion Golden State Warriors, who face the Clippers on Wednesday, don't like their Pacific Division rivals. Sacramento Kings All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins said he hated the Clippers after losing to them in the season-opener on Wednesday. On Nov. 11, Mavericks fans will get their chance to air out their hatred when Jordan and the Clippers visit Dallas.
"The game in Dallas, the fans will probably get a little bit nuts and get into it," Parsons said.