Back in 2004, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban had the choice of keeping NBA Hall-of-Famer Steve Nash or allowing him to walk. Cuban opted to take the latter route because he felt that Nash and Mavericks legend Nowitzki's time together had already run its course.
The Mavericks, who eventually ended up winning a championship in 2011, decided to build around their German superstar. Still, one of the most significant question marks in franchise history is what would've happened had the duo of Nash and Nowitzki been retained for a couple more years. Cuban once opened up about his regretful mistake of not giving Nash a chance.
Mark Cuban admits it was a mistake to let Steve Nash walk
In his appearance on The Rematch podcast hosted by NBA veteran Etan Thomas, the Mavericks owner admitted that Nash resented him for not offering him enough money when the All-Star was a free agent in 2004. According to Cuban, Nash's health concerns triggered the Mavs to turn against him, leading him to sign with the Phoenix Suns instead.
"That's my biggest mistake ever. Not even close, my biggest mistake ever. He had been injured the year before and his minutes were declining, and our doctor was like, 'He may have some issues.' And coach [Don Nelson] was like, 'He may have some issues.' So we made him what we thought was a great offer, but then Phoenix came in and just beat that offer," Cuban said.
"I'll never forget because he [Nash] called me up and he goes: 'They offered me more than Mike Bibby,' and Mike Bibby had just gotten a big contract. "And I have it down on this calendar at my office at the arena still, it says: 'Nash: Mike Bibby Money.' Nash hated me for a long time because of it. We're good now," Cuban added.
What would've happened if Nash had stayed in Dallas?
It's good to hear Cuban say that he and Nash are now on good terms, despite their fallout years ago. In retrospect, it's difficult to blame the 2-time MVP for holding a grudge against his former employer despite averaging just 14.6 points and 7.2 assists in the 408 games he played with the Mavericks for 6 years.
The only time Nash truly hit his peak was when he was the focal point of the offense in Phoenix, where he won both his MVPs and ascended his Hall-of-Fame career.
Moving on to Phoenix wasn't that bad of an idea for Nash. But it's still fair to wonder what could've happened if Nash and Nowitzki had run it back for a couple more years. Who knows? Both players could have been the best international duo of all time.