DALLAS — Outspoken Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said Thursday he would sell the team if NBA commissioner David Stern punished him by forcing the club to forfeit draft picks.
"Because at that point it's personal, and I can't run a business in that kind of world," Cuban said in an interview on Dallas radio station FOX Sports 1190 AM. "If it becomes personal, that it's obvious that he wants me out, that it's about me, and it'd be to the detriment of the fans and the team, then I can't run a business the way I know how."
Cuban, a billionaire, has been fined eight times totaling more than $1 million in the two years since he bought the team. His latest fine, $500,000, came after he said he wouldn't hire the NBA's head of officiating, Ed Rush, "to manage a Dairy Queen."
The remark led to Cuban's working two hours behind a Dairy Queen counter on Wednesday in suburban Dallas, drawing more than 1,000 people and extensive media coverage.
Cuban said the fines don't trouble him because "the team plays and the fans go to the games and everybody is happy, and I don't have to raise prices."
"But if they'd take away picks? Now you're impacting the ability of the team to compete," he said. "You impact fans' ability to enjoy the game. You're telling me you don't want me in this league and you're not going to give me a chance, then I'm out."
Cuban did not immediately respond to an e-mail request for comment. Earlier this week, he told The Associated Press that no one had threatened him with the forfeiture of draft picks.
NBA deputy commissioner Russ Granik said Thursday that reports of a possible suspension of Cuban or the forfeiture of draft picks were "pure speculation."