The Dallas Mavericks have been fined $750,000 fine after controversially fielding a weakened team in their loss to the Chicago Bulls earlier this month, the NBA said Friday.
The NBA said the Mavericks abrupt decision to hold out five key players in a game they had to win in order to have a chance of reaching the postseason represented "conduct detrimental to the league."
"The Dallas Mavericks' decision to restrict key players from fully participating in an elimination game last Friday against Chicago undermined the integrity of our sport," said Joe Dumars, NBA executive vice president and head of basketball operations.
"The Mavericks' actions failed our fans and our league."
The NBA said the Mavericks' decision was made to improve the franchise's chances of retaining a first round pick in the 2023 draft.
The Mavericks still owe a first-round pick to the New York Knicks as part of the trade for Kristaps Porzingis in 2019.
But if the NBA's draft lottery determines they have a top-10 selection, they don't have to give it up. A lower finish in the overall standings increases the odds of drawing a top-10 pick in the lottery.
"The Mavericks violated the league's player resting policy and demonstrated through actions and public statements the organization's desire to lose the game in order to improve the chances of keeping its first-round pick in the 2023 NBA Draft," the NBA said in a statement.
However the league said there was no evidence that the players who took to the court for the game were not playing to win.
Mavs coach Jason Kidd told reporters before the game that he had intended to field a full-strength side before being informed by billionaire owner Mark Cuban and the front office to rest Kyrie Irving, Tim Hardaway Jr. and key reserves Josh Green, Maxi Kleber and Christian Wood.
"We were going to play until told otherwise," Kidd said. "And today is the day that we've been told that we're going to do something different."
It is not the first time Dallas and Cuban have fallen afoul of the NBA over the issue of "tanking."
Cuban was fined $600,000 in 2018 after saying in a podcast that he had told players and coaches that "losing is our best option."