DALLAS — Mavericks owner Mark Cuban used to have some verbal battles with Phil Jackson when he coached the Lakers. But Cuban wouldn’t gloat that Jackson is struggling in his first time as an executive.
“It’s a bucket boy issue,” Cuban said, eliciting the term he used to call Jackson when he was the Lakers coach. “I don’t know. I don’t pay attention. That’s an old Phil Jackson reference from way back when. I have one team I pay attention to that closely.”
Cuban, as usual held court with reporters while on a step climber in the Mavericks locker room. He often went after Jackson in the media and laughed heartily when he was asked if he ever thought of running the triangle in Dallas.
“I thought about playing the triangle but cowbells won out,” Cuban said.
Cuban complimented Kristaps Porzingis, and said he sees “a lot” of similarities between him and Dirk Nowitzki.
“I think they both have that ‘[expletive] you’ in them,” Cuban said. “And that’s the difference between being a star and not. Just like Dirk had to find his way and get comfortable with roles, KP’s going to have to do the same thing.”
But Cuban, tongue in cheek, said he doesn’t want Nowitzki working out with Porzingis and showing him some of his moves — which was supposed to happen last summer and didn’t, but could this offseason.
“[Expletive] no,” Cuban said. “You know how much money I pay Dirk? Unless he teaches them how to shoot like me, then I’ll be really excited about it.”
Cuban added, “I want you to take me literally, not seriously.”
Porzingis a Rising Star again
Porzingis was selected to play in the Rising Stars Challenge during All-Star Weekend for the second straight year. He will play on the World Team in the exhibition between rookies and second-year players Feb. 17 in New Orleans.
“I wanted to be there,” Porzingis said. “I wanted to be in the big All-Star Game. The big dream is All-Star. This is one step closer to being there. I hope soon.”
Porzingis was disappointed Knicks rookies Mindaugas Kuzminskas and Willy Hernangomez were not chosen to play on the World Team.
“I am,” he said. “I felt like especially the way they’ve been playing lately they deserve to be there. But I think they take the whole season and they had moments where they didn’t play as much, that’s tough. But I felt like they were right there. They deserved it.”
Joining Porzingis on the World Team are leading Rookie of the Year candidate Joel Embiid, Dante Exum, Buddy Heild, Nikola Jokic, Trey Lyles, Emmanuel Mudiay, Jamal Murray, Domantas Sabonis and Dario Saric.
The U.S. Team roster consists of last year’s Rookie of the Year Karl-Anthony Towns, Devin Booker, Malcolm Brogdon, Marquese Chriss, Brandon Ingram, Frank Kaminsky, Jahlil Okafor, D’Angelo Russell, Jonathon Simmons and Myles Turner.
The NBA assistant coaches pick the teams.
Anthony awaits All-Star word
Anthony wants to play in his eighth-straight All-Star Game, but his streak is in jeopardy.
Isaiah Thomas, John Wall, Kyle Lowry and Kemba Walker are safe bets to be picked by the coaches when the reserves are announced Thursday night on TNT. Paul George and Kevin Love are deserving also. That could leave one spot for Anthony, Paul Millsap, Joel Embiid, Andre Drummond and Hassan Whiteside.
Anthony has started in seven consecutive All-Star Games. But that streak was snapped when the fans, players and media didn’t vote him a starter.
Communicating with Phil
Jeff Hornacek apparently communicates more with Jackson than Derek Fisher did.
Hornacek said they talk at lunch at the practice facility, and Jackson e-mails him observations after games. Jackson did the same with Fisher. But when he fired him a little more than a year ago, Jackson said Fisher often responded with one word e-mails, and that they didn’t communicate much.
Hornacek said he likes getting Jackson’s perspective and sometimes it’s different from what he and the coaches see.
“It’s just another helpful hint out there, another view from somebody who has been a great coach for many years and sees things that can help us,” Hornacek said. “There’s a lot of us who are discussing these things every day, so there are lot of these points that come up. But there is some insight where you say, oh yeah, let’s take a look at that. So it’s good.”