Mavericks owner Cuban threatens player clearout

DALLAS,  (Reuters) – Dallas Mavericks mercurial owner  Mark Cuban threatened a player clearout and accused the team of  a lack of effort after defeat to the lowly Oklahoma City  Thunder.

“It’s only one game, which I keep reminding myself,” Cuban  said in yesterday’s edition of the Dallas Morning News after a  96-87 defeat on Monday.

“But let’s just say I wasn’t happy with our preparation,  execution or effort. Not only did it look like we had no idea  what we were doing, but we did it without effort.

Oklahoma, 15-45 this year and 33.5 games behind the  front-running Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference,  outscored Dallas 31-15 in the third quarter to take a 20-point  lead into the final 12 minutes.

“The effort and energy, on both sides of the ball, by each  player will decide their future with the Mavericks,” said Cuban.

“If each player can’t take the personal initiative to make  every game important and play like it, I don’t see them being  here next season.”

Dallas is 36-24 and clinging to the eighth and final playoff  spot in the West. The Mavericks reached the NBA finals in  2005-06 but lost in the first round of the playoffs the next two  seasons.

“The ball won’t always bounce the way we want it to, but  every player can control their level of effort,” said Cuban,  normally a vocal defender of his club.

“If it’s not important enough to them to lay it out every  game the rest of the season, they won’t be back. I don’t care  what their contract is.

“This team has the talent to win in the playoffs. But that’s  only going to happen if all 15 guys know and execute their  assignments and play every possession like it’s important.”

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