Cuban linked to postgame hassle
Dallas — An unlikely sideshow developed prior to Monday night’s Game 4 of the Mavericks-Nuggets series: Mark Cuban vs. Kenyon Martin’s mother.
The billionaire team owner and local mom became linked because of a brief confrontation in the heated aftermath of Game 3, when Denver benefited from an NBA-acknowledged officiating mistake and beat Dallas, 106-105, for a 3-0 series lead.
Cuban stalked across the court, blew off steam at the scorer’s table, then headed down a hall leading away from the court. Lydia Moore, wearing a Nuggets jersey, was standing near the base of the section he walked past, clearly in his view.
According to Cuban, a fan called the Nuggets “thugs,” and he looked at Moore and said, “That includes your son.” However, Martin’s agent told the Denver Post that Cuban said, “Your son is a punk.”
On Monday, Cuban only said, “I’m happy to let her sit next to me. I’ve got no problem with Mrs. Martin.”
Martin doesn’t do interviews during the open locker room period before tipoff, but during Monday morning’s shootaround he vowed to handle things himself.
“It’s a little personal, and I’m going to take care of it,” he said. “I’m not going to do the whole media thing, back and forth. That’s his thing. I’m more of a face-to-face type of dude.”
League spokesman Tim Frank said Monday that all of the postgame fallout was still under review.
Cuban has racked up more than $1 million in fines from the league, and even been suspended, for actions the league has deemed non-owner-like behavior. Most of it falls under the category of being passionate.
Nuggets coach George Karl said he considers Cuban “very good for the game of basketball, but he’s very eclectic and very different.”
As for how he expects Martin to “take care of” Cuban, Karl said he expected it to be handled properly.
“Kenyon’s a man. He doesn’t want to discuss his problems with (reporters). He wants to discuss his problems with Mark,” Karl said. “I would prefer he probably do it in the summertime. That would probably be best served for both of them. Let the emotion go away and go have dinner.”
DiLeo withdraws name
Philadelphia — Philadelphia 76ers interim coach Tony DiLeo has withdrawn his name from consideration for the permanent coaching job.
Sixers general manager Ed Stefanski said DiLeo decided Monday to return to his old job in the front office, citing family reasons. DiLeo has two sons — T.J., a freshman who plays for Temple’s basketball team, and Max, a sophomore in high school.
Some possible candidates include TV analyst and former coach Doug Collins, a former Sixers guard; former Dallas Mavericks coach Avery Johnson; and former Washington Wizards coach Eddie Jordan.
Warriors, Mullin cut ties
Oakland, Calif. — The Golden State Warriors finally cut ties with top basketball executive Chris Mullin on Monday, nearly a year after the former star player apparently lost his authority to run the troubled franchise.
Mullin, the Warriors’ executive vice president of basketball operations, will be replaced by Larry Riley, a longtime assistant to coach Don Nelson.
Los Angeles — Los Angeles Lakers forward Lamar Odom is listed as questionable for tonight’s Western Conference semifinals Game 5 against the Houston Rockets after an MRI and CT scan showed he has a bruised lower back.
Granger likely choice
Indianapolis — The agent for Indiana Pacers forward Danny Granger said he expected the All-Star forward to win the NBA’s Most Improved Player award.
The Pacers called a news conference for today, but they wouldn’t say what it was about.
Fan demands apology
Orlando, Fla. — The father of the 12-year-old boy bumped by Celtics big man Glen “Big Baby” Davis after Sunday’s game-winning shot is demanding an apology.
Ernest Provetti told the Orlando Sentinel that he wrote the NBA office demanding an apology from Davis for acting like a “raging animal with no regard for fans’ personal safety.” The league received the e-mail but declined to comment on it.
Triano drops interim tag
Toronto — Jay Triano signed a three-year contract Monday to coach the Toronto Raptors, dropping the interim tag after taking over the team during the season.
Triano was promoted Dec. 3 after Sam Mitchell’s dismissal.
The Raptors went 25-40 under Triano but finished strong, going 9-4 in their final 13 games.
Westphal, Kings to meet
Sacramento, Calif. — The Sacramento Kings plan to interview Paul Westphal this week for their head coaching vacancy.
Westphal is the Dallas Mavericks’ executive vice president of basketball operations.