When Don Nelson stepped down as the coach of the Mavericks he was owed $6.5 million in back payments from Mark Cuban. He's never gotten them, though, because Cuban claims Nelson violated a non-compete clause in his contract when he took the job with Golden State. Yes, the same Golden State that knocked Cuban's Mavs from the playoffs in six games this spring. Obviously that loss infuriated Cuban. His team entered with 67 wins and a top seed only to be thumped by the coach he didn't want and a team of lesser repute. It couldn't just have been based on basketball, Cuban thought, it must have been because Nelson knew something that he shouldn't have about the Mavs.
So, according to Nellie's attorney John O'Connor, he's suing Nelson for having "confidential information and he [Cuban] wants to enjoin Don from coaching against the Mavericks."
"There is no basis in our view," O'Connor said. "I suppose he [Nelson] knows [Dirk] Nowitzki likes to go right instead of left, but normally that's not a trade secret."
In an e-mail, Cuban acknowledged he and his lawyer have "claims" against Nelson, but is "not sure how we are handling them." Cuban offered a "no comment" when asked Thursday night for a description of "confidential information."
The wonderfully named Uwe Blog covers all the angles of this bizarre case. We're wondering if the meeting between Cuban and his attorneys went anything like this.
Lawyer: If you offer Nelson a token cash settlement, say a
couple of thou, he'll be so dazzled, he'll sign anything you
shove under his nose.
Cuban: Oh, brilliant, a cash settlement. I could have
figured that out, you buttoned-down maggot!
Lawyer: Well, we could trump up a countersuit on charges that he had confidential information about our team.
Now that's good attorneying! Rumor has it that the Cavaliers are dotting the i's on a suit claiming that the Spurs unfairly restricted their trade practices.