Kevin Durant couldn’t beat them.
The four-time scoring champion had an MVP-caliber point guard by his side in Russell Westbrook, one of the league’s best defenders in Andre Roberson and a pair of promising big men (Steven Adams and Enes Kanter). The Thunder had captured a 3-1 lead in the 2016 Western Conference finals against the defending world champion Warriors. After shooting a combined 20 of 62 in Games 5 and 6 before a tough Game 7 loss to be eliminated, Durant sought refuge instead of revenge.
Mark Cuban was not going to let those sources get to Adrian Wojnarowski. Period. Not a chance.
And to make sure of that prior to the draft he had a meeting with all of those in the Mavericks draft room. The message was simple. Do not leak anything to anyone. Though he had a more poignant way of saying it.
The closer it gets to the (No. 9) pick, the more tense it became, Cuban said in a press conference Friday. I said, ‘OK, two things. One, when I’m on the phone, everybody shut up. Two, if this gets to Wojo before our pick, whoever we find out did it is fired.’
There was one pick in the Top 10 that Wojnarowski did not have on draft night. That pick was the Mavericks. They selected N.C. State’s Dennis Smith and Wojo actually had to retweet someone else who found out who the Mavs were picking.