DALLAS — When it comes to Phil Jackson, Mark Cuban’s still got it.
In full shtick while on the Stairmaster ahead of Wednesday’s game, the Mavericks owner brought up an old insult for the Knicks president, calling him a “bucket boy” before working in a dig when asked about running the triangle.
“Running the triangle?” Cuban said with a laugh. “I thought about playing the triangle, but cowbells won out.”
Cuban and Jackson used to spar verbally during their Western Conference playoff showdowns, and the Mavs owner once wrote on his blog, “I own Phil Jackson … the coach formerly known as the Zen Master must now be considered my bucket boy.”
That old nickname resurfaced Wednesday when Cuban was asked about Jackson’s struggles as Knicks president.
“That’s a bucket boy issue,” Cuban said. “So I don’t know. I don’t pay attention.”
Cuban was also colorful when comparing Dirk Nowitzki to Kristaps Porzingis, saying, “They both have that ‘F–k you’ in them.'”
However, the Mavs owner jokingly turned down the notion that Nowitzki should be mentoring the young Latvian (Porzingis and Nowitzki arranged to work out last summer but plans fell through because of scheduling conflicts).
“F–k no. You know how much money I pay Dirk?” Cuban said. “Unless he teaches them how to shoot like me, then I’ll be really excited about it.”
Cuban had no thoughts or recollections about meeting with Carmelo Anthony during his free agency in 2014.
“I can barely remember what I had for dinner yesterday let alone what happened in free agency 22 years ago,” he said.
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Porzingis was named to the World team for the Rising Stars Challenge on All-Star Weekend, while his rookie teammates Willy Hernangomez and Mindaugas Kuzminskas were left off.
Porzingis was a lock for the team for a second straight year while averaging 18.9 points and 7.1 boards heading into Wednesday’s game against the Mavericks. He has also hinted at participating in the Skills Challenge in New Orleans.
Hernangomez’s stats certainly aren’t eye-popping (5.7 ppg, 4.9 apg), but he surged in January and was considered an option because of the World team’s thin roster. The Spaniard was hurt by the surplus of big men on the roster, highlighted by Porzingis, Joel Embiid and Nikola Jokic.
Kuzminskas, a 27-year-old Lithuanian, came into Wednesday’s game averaging six points.
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Phil Jackson is still coaching a little from a distance, with Jeff Hornacek said Wednesday that the team president will send “notes” after each game.
“Whether we win or lose,” the coach said. “Things that he sees or things that he thinks that maybe we could take a look at. So 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.”