Mark Cuban was too busy on the Los Angeles set of his TV show "Shark Tank" to come to a July meeting with then-free agent Deron Williams in New York, costing the Dallas Mavericks any chance of landing him, according to the Brooklyn Nets point guard.
Williams had two teams in mind when he become a free agent this summer — his hometown Mavericks and his previous team, the Nets. Cuban's absence from the important meeting insulted Williams so much, it swayed his decision to stay with the Nets.
Call it the Cuban Missing Crisis.
For Williams, the snub brought back unpleasant memories of his college recruitment.
"Of course (Cuban's absence influenced me)," Williams revealed Monday. "My top four when I was coming out of high school was Illinois, Georgia Tech, Tennessee and Maryland.
"Maryland told me they wanted me to come on a visit but Gary Williams wouldn't be there. So I told them, "It's OK. I'd rather not go." So that was that. It's similar."
Williams said he had a lot of questions for the Mavericks owner that could not be answered by the team's representatives — coach Rick Carlisle and general manager Donnie Nelson.
"I mean, I think he would have been able to answer some of the questions ... a lot of the questions that my agent and I had for him really didn't get answered that day," said Williams. "I think, if he was there, he would have been able to answer those questions a little bit
Both teams went out of their way to land the All-Star.
The Nets offered the undecided Williams an extra year and $25 million and signed Joe Johnson just hours after he met with the Dallas reps.
The Mavericks basically gutted a championship-caliber team to get Williams but Cuban's TV show priorities left the point guard with a bad taste in his mouth.
Cuban — never one to take things lying down — soured Williams on the Mavs even more by going on a Dallas radio show and saying his team was better off now.
"Maybe [it would have helped to be there], you know, because I always think I can close a deal," Cuban said. "But, in hindsight, I don't know if I would have been happy. I think we're in a better position now than we would have been if we had gotten him.
Williams brushed off Cuban's past remarks.
"I'm not concerning myself with them anymore," said Williams. "I'm Brooklyn Net, I'm not a Dallas Maverick. I'm worried about what's going on here, with what our team is doing, and I can't really worry about what's being said.
"That's Mark. He does that to a lot of people."