In his enjoyable "Game of Thrones"/NBA off-season column today, Bill Simmons couldn't help but throw some shots at Mark Cuban for the Mavericks' failure to land Deron Williams this off-season. Cuban should bear some of the blame, Simmons insinuates, because he was in Los Angeles taping his show "Shark Tank."
The Sports Guy writes:
Anyway, you're not gonna believe this, but Williams ended up re-signing with Brooklyn. Normally I'd have more barbs here … but I actually enjoy Shark Tank. I fully support Cuban's decision to throw away Dallas's 2012 title defense to create enough cap space to potentially sign a marquee free agent like Williams, then to miss THE crucial pitch meeting with Williams because he was contractually obligated to tape a reality-TV show. I care more about Shark Tank than the fate of the Mavericks. If I rooted for the Mavericks? I might not be as happy.
As takedowns go, this was relatively minor. But it does represent the latest salvo between two basketball junkies who normally stay friendly with each other. (Cuban has been on the B.S. Report multiple times, including a live taping back in March, and Simmons is always quick to praise Cuban in his columns.) Things have been testy with the two for weeks now, first with Cuban calling out Simmons on Twitter, and today with Simmons responding with this column today.
Why are they doing this? While it could be any number of reasons, it's beginning to seem like hype. It seems like they're about to play up some sort of epic, two-hour podcast or back-and-forth column between the two.
Simmons—a long-time fan of professional wrestling—and Cuban—a man who has never been afraid of self-promotion of any form—are too smart to not play up this "feud." We're currently going through the worst sports time of the year: Baseball is in the midst of the dog days of summer. The Olympics are a week away. Football is still in the future; basketball, the distant future. Why not set each other up for a debate that would pit the fan versus the general manager? With the format of the B.S. Report, it would be a longer, more intelligent and interesting version of the Skip Bayless-Cuban fight from a few weeks ago. It also would feature a writer who actually knows his stuff, unlike Bayless.
Of course, this could all be Cuban just generally being angry at the Sports Guy. But there is certainly the possibility that it will evolve into something substantial and entertaining for the rest of us. We shall see.