HANG TIME SOUTHWEST — Listening to Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban explain the hiring of new general manager Gerrson Rosas, it’s difficult to tell whetherCuban is restructuring his front office or opening a sports science clinic that Major League Baseball might want to investigate.
Cuban made an appearance on the team’s flagship radio station, ESPN Dallas, and confirmed Rosas’ hiring first reported Monday by Yahoo Sports.
He said the hire had little to do with the former Houston Rockets executive’s role under analytics-driven general manager Daryl Morey in enabling the franchise to trade for James Harden and to acquire free agent Dwight Howard, or with the Mavs’ failures to land a top free agent in consecutive summers.
An exuberant Cuban said Rosas, 35, will provide day-to-day organization and management to the front office as the owner seeks to “push the envelope” in new technology areas, including an expansion of traditional analytics to what Cuban termed “bio-analytics.”
Cuban said that means exploration into areas such as “genetic testing to blood analysis and performance technology,” apparently in an effort to better evaluate players.
“If you want to keep pushing the envelope in new technology areas to give us an edge, you’ve got to hire somebody who has experience in managing those kinds of things,” Cuban said. “We really needed somebody with stronger organizational and management skills.”
Rosas, 35, Cuban said, will report to president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson, who previously also held the title of GM. Cuban said he, Nelson and Rosas could all handle potential trade talks with other general managers and discussions with agents depending on which one has the best relationship with that particular GM or agent. Cuban said it was his idea to seek a general manager “to get smarter as an organization” and said he implored Nelson to find the right person for the job.
“We try to take pride in being one of the most technologically advanced teams out there in all of professional sports, not just the NBA,” Cuban said. “And to keep on pushing the envelope in the direction I wanted to go, we wanted to add not just brain power, but organizational, management and process power.”
Part of that plan, Cuban also announced, was to fire 10-year strength and conditioning coach Robert Hackett. Cuban said the right candidate will be “more of an expert in performance technology science.”
Who knows where Cuban’s “bio-analytics” experiment leads, perhaps to clones of the 2011 title team. But no doubt he’s hard-charging technology efforts. He recently awarded $100,000 to biomechanics experts at SMU to research flopping.
Rosas will best serve the Mavs by keeping a sharp focus on streamlining the operation. Both Cuban and Nelson have their hands in plenty of cookie jars. Cuban is an involved investor in a gaggle of businesses, including many of his own, and he’s committed to the popular television show “Shark Tank.” Nelson is co-owner of the D-League Texas Legends and also has outside business interests, while also serving as a nightly ambassador to VIP guests at both Mavs and Legends home games.
“It gives us one more smart person to interact with and help us make smarter decisions,” Cuban said of Rosas.
Bio-analtycis aside, fans just know the team has faltered fast and the roster has been remade for a second consecutive summer around the 35-year-old Dirk Nowitzki. Jose Calderon, Monta Ellis and Samuel Dalembert are the latest to join Nowitzki, Shawn Marion, Vince Carter and the soon-to-be-signed Brandan Wright.
Cuban said his recent comment that drew eye rolls, calling Dallas better off without Howard, was not put in proper context. He said the Mavs wanted Howard, but “failed in that.”
The owner said, with health, his team can be competitive, and said he’s miffed at critics who dismiss Nowitzki’s ability to shoulder this latest collection of talent.
“Like I’ve been telling him, Karl Malone won an MVP at 35 and there’s no reason why he can’t be considered in the MVP conversation at 35,” Cuban said. “I can also tell you that the way people are just randomly dismissing him as just being done has been incredible motivation for him as well.”