Nash’s play has surprised Cuban, but owner would still let him go

Jan 24, 2012, 8:33 PM | Updated: 9:04 pm

By his own admission, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban
let Steve Nash depart as a free agent in the summer of
2004 because he didn’t think the player would last this
long.

Nash, who was 30 at the time, was coming off three
straight seasons of playing at least 78 games, but that
didn’t matter as Cuban’s medical staff told him it would
be unwise to spend big money to keep the point guard.

More than seven seasons and two MVP awards later, it’d be
fair to classify the decision as a mistake. Even now, at
37, Nash is averaging 14 points and 10 assists per game.

“I’ll say it now, if you would have told me Steve would
have been playing eight years later I would have bet any
amount of money you’d be wrong,” Cuban told the Star-Telegram. “But
some guys do a great job of taking care of their bodies
and taking advantage of the new technology that‘s come
along.

“The thing about Steve is his discipline.”

It’d be wrong to hold it against Cuban, as there were
many who though the Suns gave a big contract to a player
who was on the verge of breaking down. Still, as far as
history is concerned, it will always be looked at as a
decision that changed the course of two franchises — and
maybe one player’s career.

Then again, as Cuban says, he’d do the same thing all over
again if given the chance.

“Because we won a championship,” Cuban said. “We’ve been
good, but at the same time I just learned that guys can
play longer now.”

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Nash’s play has surprised Cuban, but owner would still let him go