Mavs’ Cuban enjoys when Lakers are ‘screwed up’

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LOS ANGELES — Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban told ESPN on Wednesday he takes delight in the plights of the Los Angeles Lakers, who have followed a tumultuous season with more than a few negative headlines this offseason.

“The more screwed up they are, the happier I am,” Cuban told ESPN while he was in downtown LA for the Social Innovation Summit. “But I feel that way about every other franchise not in Dallas. We all go through it. Every franchise goes through cycles, and when your down cycle hits you, it’s never fun.”

Despite that sentiment, Cuban said he supports Lakers controlling owner Jeanie Buss.

“I feel bad for Jeanie, personally, because she’s a great person,” he told ESPN. “I have no sympathy for the Lakers any more than they had sympathy for us.”

Cuban also expressed disapproval of former team president Magic Johnson’s claim last month that he would be interested in buying the Lakers.

“That’s a little bit self-serving,” Cuban said. “I don’t think Magic could afford them. And that’s no disrespect to Magic. That’s a reflection of just how well Jeanie has done.”

Johnson resigned from his position — without warning anyone, including Buss, a close friend of his — on April 9, minutes before the team’s regular-season finale. In mid-May, he accused general manager Rob Pelinka, who remains in his position, of back-stabbing him.

Last week, a lengthy ESPN story described a toxic culture in the Lakers organization during Johnson’s tenure. Johnson denied mistreating any employees.

In their first season with LeBron James, the Lakers went 37-45 and missed the playoffs as many players — including James — missed time due to injury.

After Johnson’s resignation, the team also parted ways with head coach Luke Walton. During the ensuing coaching search, multiple candidates reportedly turned down the job before Frank Vogel was hired, and a small group of fans protested team management outside Staples Center.

Cuban, 60, bought the Mavericks in 2000, just as the team began a run of 12 straight playoff appearances and 15 in 16 years, including the team’s first NBA title in 2010-11. Dallas has missed the playoffs for three consecutive years.

Vince Carter said Wednesday that the 2019-20 season will his last in the NBA, which would give the high-flying small forward the record for most seasons played in league history.

On ESPN’s “The Jump,” Carter said that his 22nd season will be his final one, putting the end to a memorable career that saw him play in eight All-Star Games after earning the 1998-99 NBA Rookie of the Year award.

Other players with 21 seasons in the league include Robert Parish, Kevin Willis, Kevin Garnett and Dirk Nowitzki.

“I got one more in me,” the 42-year-old Carter said. “I got one more run in me.”

Carter played for the Atlanta Hawks this past season, his eighth team after starting his career with the Toronto Raptors. He has scored 17.2 points per game with 3.2 assists and 4.4 rebounds, while also playing for the New Jersey Nets, Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks, Memphis Grizzlies and Sacramento Kings.

Set to be a free agent, Carter still must find a team interested in his services. He scored 7.4 points per game in 76 contests with the Hawks this past season while playing on a one-year, $2.4 million contract. He started nine games. — Reuters