Merritt Paulson: The Mark Cuban of MLS (Poll)

There has been a lot of talk about Merritt Paulson and affecting the team. People have compared him to Paul Allen and other more hands-on owners. I don't think the comparison to Paul Allen is apt, as there are a lot of differences between Paul and MP -- I would say MP is the Mark Cuban of MLS.

Mark Cuban, as many of us know, is the owner of the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA. He is by far the most outspoken owner in the NBA and acts a lot like a fan than an owner. He sits behind the team, criticizes officials and has even gone on to the court to yell at an official. Which of course has had earned him a lot of fines. He also is very accessible to the fans of the Mavs. Talks to them and interacts with them -- maybe not on Twitter, but in other ways -- and really loves his players. Finally, Mark Cuban really wants to win and will do anything to win.

To get a better picture of Mark for us I turned to SB Nation's Mavs Moneyball's Lisa Trotter, the editor of the Dallas Mavericks SB Nation site and asked her a few questions.

What do the Mavericks' fans think about having Mark Cuban as the owner?

Despite all the uproar from the beginning of this offseason, I would venture to say that any Mavs fan you talk to will tell you that Cuban is the best owner in sports. You'd have to look hard to find someone who is as big a fan of the team he owns. In the past, what endeared Cuban to the fans was his willingness to spend, no matter the cost, to put the right pieces on a team. Now I think we'll start to appreciate his business savvy more, as the CBA calls for harsher penalties for being over the cap. What we will ALWAYS appreciate, no matter what, is Cuban's apparent lack of a filter. Sure, we get annoyed when he spouts off and gets fined, but secretly we're proud that he cares enough to say anything at all.

With such an outspoken owner are there times when he has hurt the team more than he has helped the team?

Oh absolutely, without question. His tendencies to admonish referees in the past has certainly affected the team, whether the refs are willing to admit it or not. But if you'll recall, during the playoffs in 2011, he managed to not only to keep quiet- he practically disappeared until the team had won it all. For that, we are willing to forgive, I think.

If I remember correctly the early years of Mark Cuban's ownership he acted a lot like a fan instead of an owner. Did his "fandom" affect his decisions basketball wise?

Considering the state of the franchise since Cuban took over ownership, I'd say his fandom has only ever helped the Mavericks. With him at the helm, the team has had 11 straight 50+ win seasons (if only there had been enough games post-lockout...). I think you want an owner who cares more about the team winning than anything else, because he'll then make business decisions to ensure that. There are clearly other owners who focus on attendance and merchandising and other meaningless things and those teams just don't have the same success.

Was there a learning curve for Mark Cuban, going from a business setting to a sports business setting? If there was when do you think Mark finally got being a sports owner?

I personally don't think so, but I've only been a fan for the last 7 years or so. He might have made some early decisions that people weren't fond of (letting Nash go, overpaying Dampier) but if you look at how those turned out years later, it's hard to say that Cuban ever really had any glaring mistakes. He's so obviously a brilliant man- I honestly think he could run just about any business-- internet or sports-- and be successful.

With Mark being the most outspoken NBA owner how do you think that has affected interaction from other NBA franchises with the Mavericks (i.e. Trades and Free Agents)?

That's a tough one because recent evidence would suggest that we're not the most desirable spot for free agents. I don't think that's because of Cuban as owner, though, because every player that comes to Dallas talks about how much they love the winning atmosphere. They also praise the care that Cuban takes of his team, and having seen what the facilities look like, there's no question Cuban wants his athletes to be happy. That being said, he was one of the more outspoken owners during the lockout, and I imagine he has plenty of enemies amongst the owners.

When he first became owner of the Mavs, was he more hands on (in terms of players/personnel acquisitions) then he is now and if he was has he learned to let others make the decisions?

From what I can see, Cuban is as hands-on as he ever was. He has close relationships with the players on and off the court, and as I understand it, he was with Donnie and Rick for much of the decision-making this season (despite not showing up for Deron Williams' meeting with the team). As long as he is the owner, I think Cuban will be heavily involved in the decisions that get made. Speaking from personal experience, he's not one to sit back and let things just happen without exerting some kind of control.

Any advice for Portland Fans in dealing with their outspoken and very competitive Fan/Owner?

EMBRACE IT. I guarantee that you'd rather have an owner who is passionate about the success of the team than one who couldn't be bothered.

* * *

I know there are people out there who dislike MP as the owner and there are others who just want MP out of the team president role. However I think we have the best owner in MLS. Yes there are things MP has done which have not panned out and yes there are things he needs to learn, but the passion and willingness to show that passion should be commended.

It could be worse -- we could have this guy or this family as our owner

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