Mark Cuban: Realignment could help

DALLAS -- Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has come up with a proposal to level the playing field between the NBA's two conferences.

Cuban suggests a conference realignment that would result in a total of eight teams, including the Mavs, switching conferences.

In Cuban's plan, the Mavs, San Antonio Spurs, Houston Rockets and New Orleans Pelicans would move to the Eastern Conference. The Chicago Bulls, Indiana Pacers, Detroit Pistons and Milwaukee Bucks would move to the West.

"It's not like it'd be the first time we've ever realigned," Cuban said. "It's happened many times before, so there's precedent and I just think it shakes things up and makes things interesting."

Cuban, whose Mavs were the West's eighth seed with a 49-33 record last season but would have been a No. 3 seed in the East, acknowledged that he had some selfish motivation for the plan. However, he believes the league would benefit as a whole.

"It's not like you're reducing competition," said Cuban, who noted that the teams he suggested moving to the West are approximately the same distance from Portland as Dallas and closer than New Orleans, San Antonio and Houston. "You keep Cleveland, Washington and other good teams in the East. It kind of shakes things up in terms of not just interest but also in terms of how people rebuild.

"It just changes things up and it changes the thought process of a lot of teams. It makes both conferences very competitive, at least for the short term and I think, based on the history of the teams, for the long term as well."

Commissioner Adam Silver has been receptive to ideas that would address the issue of the West being a significantly deeper, stronger conference than the East. One idea that has been floated is to have a 16-team playoff bracket that does not take conferences into consideration.

Cuban has not discussed his idea, which he hatched during a media interview Wednesday, with the commissioner or anyone else in the NBA.

"I did the trial close right here," Cuban said as he worked out on his stair-stepper and talked to reporters before Wednesday's home game against the New York Knicks. "Then it'll turn into headline porn and then we'll see the response."

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