DALLAS (Reuters) - A relatively minor deal among the rash of NBA trades this week has left Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban fuming.
"That's just wrong. That's just wrong. That's just absolutely, positively wrong," Cuban said of the Sacramento Kings sending forward Carl Landry to the New Orleans Hornets for guard Marcus Thornton and cash considerations.
The deal increases the payroll of the Hornets, and that rubs Cuban the wrong way, especially since the NBA owns the New Orleans franchise.
"There's so few teams in the league that can afford to do that and yet we're allowing a team that's owned by the league to do that?" Cuban told reporters before Wednesday's Dallas-Utah game.
The NBA, which approved the trade on Wednesday, would not comment on Cuban's remarks, a league spokesman said Thursday.
Landry's contract earns him $3 million this year while Thornton is under contract for $762,295, according to Hang Time, a blog on the league's official website (www.nba.com).
On an annual basis, that would increase the Hornets' payroll by $2.24 million.
"That is so far wrong that it's not even close," Cuban said.
Financially strapped New Orleans sending cash to Sacramento angered the mercurial Dallas owner, whose team competes against the Hornets in the Southwest Division.
"I don't need to be competing economically with the league and myself," Cuban said.
Cuban and the other 28 NBA owners essentially possess the Hornets since the league bought the franchise from former owner George Shinn in December for approximately $300 million.
The league sets New Orleans' budget and funds the team. An appointee of NBA Commissioner David Stern, Jac Sperling, operates the club.
While unhappy New Orleans could go through with the Landry trade, Cuban praised the blockbuster deal that sent Denver's Carmelo Anthony to the New York Knicks.
"When teams in New York have star players and play well, it's really good, it's good for me," Cuban said. "I don't have to listen to people screaming at me to buy the Knicks."
(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Salvo, North Carolina. Editing by Steve Ginsburg)