Mavericks’ governor Mark Cuban made it clear Wednesday that Jason Kidd is his coach moving forward.

And if the owner has his way, Kyrie Irving will be riding shotgun next to Luka Dončić next season, too.

Perhaps it shouldn’t even be an issue less than a year after a magical run to the Western Conference finals, but Cuban put to rest any speculation about Kidd’s future by saying he’s the man to lead this team next season.

“No reason for that to change,” Cuban said before Wednesday’s game against the Sacramento Kings. “I don’t think it’s Jason’s issue. It’s really my issue . . . I didn’t see that we weren’t going to be able to sustain the defensive identity that we had. We didn’t have our identity, that impacted chemistry because guys weren’t sure of their roles.

“These guys (Kings) have played 60 games with the same starting lineup. We haven’t played 16 minutes with the same starting lineup.”

Cuban talked about wide-ranging topics – from keeping postseason hopes alive to losing Jalen Brunson and everything in between.

Most pressingly, he said the Mavericks are playing the remainder of the season with a purpose.

“I haven’t heard any fat lady singing,” he said.

That was in response to a question about why the team is risking losing their draft pick, which is top-10 protected. If they make the playoffs, the odds of keeping that pick shrink considerably.

But Cuban said that’s not the message he wants to send to players or fans.

“The players aren’t going to do that,” Cuban said. “Of course, I understand it (when fans suggest it). If we end up being in the lottery, then so be it. We’ll see what’s on the board. Hopefully we don’t know and we’re shocking the world.

“We’re four games out of fifth (in the Western Conference). We are where we are. We just have to adapt and correct the mistakes we made this year.”

And there were mistakes. You don’t get to 37-42 going into Wednesday’s game without needing to correct a lot of things, particularly when you have talent like Luka.

But looking forward has to be the priority and with Irving set to become a free agent on July 1, making him the most urgent offseason target is critical.

“I think we have a good shot,” he said of re-signing the 6-2 guard, who is averaging 26.7 points since joining the Mavericks. “I think he likes being here. And I think he’s a good guy. All I can tell you is everything I read (before making the trade), he’s nothing like that. Once you get to know the guy, I like him.”

Cuban said the new collective-bargaining agreement the league and players agreed to last week will have to be analyzed to see how the pursuit of Irving goes.

But he said he will not negotiate through the media.

“I love Kai,” Cuban said. “I think he’s a great guy. We’ve talked a lot. We talk all the time. I want him to stay. But I haven’t read all the CBA rules. I don’t know what’s going to happen.”

Cuban has been mostly quiet this season, electing to leave public comments to Kidd and general manager Nico Harrison.

But Kidd said he felt like he needed to clarify things as the season winds down. Here are several highlights:

On addressing the Mavericks’ defensive problems:

“Where you need to be defensively, we didn’t make the right changes that we needed to. We thought we would be fine offensively, that we’d be fine defensively.

“We weren’t fine defensively. And that’s where I made a mistake. It’s not like we’re the only ones who had challenges defensively. The whole league got stronger offensively. When we brought Kai in we got the best offensive rating when those two guys play together.

“We just could not find a way to get stops in close games. I don’t think that you can point to any one thing. But we’ll have to make changes obviously to be able to get better defensively. We got to get better defensively.”

On the loss of Jalen Brunson to the New York Knicks:

“I still think the world of JB. But he’d rather be there. And that’s his choice. He could have (given us) a number and match it or not match it. He didn’t. But that’s his choice. Players have that ability and that mobility and they’ve earned it. But having a parent . . . I went all this time not saying anything about it.

“We were talking to him the whole time. We were getting positive vibes after going to the Western Conference finals. Then they never gave us a chance. This was a parent trying to take over.”

(The Knicks hired Brunson’s father, Rick, as an assistant coach before free agency began last summer).

On Dončić’s leadership:

“Everybody does it (leads) differently. Luka’s been great. Luka leaves it all on the court. Luka is who he is. Like Dirk (Nowitzki), before we won the championship, Dirk is soft, Dirk is this, Dirk is that. Until you get a ring, nobody’s good enough at anything. I think Luka’s been great.

“I think some of the (stuff people say) about Luka is wrong. Every team that’s had a player for five years, it’s not always just been great. Look at the Warriors. They had guys hurt and they lose two seasons, basically. There’s frustration. It’s not unusual in the NBA. There’s only one winner and everybody else loses. That’s just the nature of the industry.

“Before Giannis won, everybody was like, aw, where’s he going. He’s not staying, he’s not staying. (There is) no great player, no superstar where they don’t question what are you going to do if you haven’t won yet.”

On how you fix that:

“To win. To figure it out. Win and have fun. Winning is not fun. Losing is not. Going 4-18 in close games is never fun. No one walks off the court feeling good in those situations. You can’t have 22 games like that and feel good. Nobody does.”

On news about the protest of the March 22 game against Golden State:

“If we haven’t heard now, they’re not going to do anything, obviously. But we’ll win it, they just won’t replay it. They won’t replay it, but they’ll tell us we were right about them being wrong. What we turned in basically said that the refs basically were lined up as if the ball was going this (the Mavericks’) way. But (the ref) gave them the ball and never checked. It (the protest) is cheaper than getting fined.”

On if this is his most frustrating season as owner:

“No, not even close. If we were 30 games out of the playoff race, if we were way, way different than everybody else. When we traded for Harrison and Andrew Bogut, that was up there with the most disappointing because I thought we were going to be good and we ended up blowing up that team to get to Luka.

“The 2008-09 season, I remember having to go into the locker room and give a speech asking everybody if they were getting their checks on time because no one was playing like it.

“(We’re) four games out of fifth. If someone had said you’re going to be four games out of fifth at the end of the season, we’d probably been: all right, it wasn’t so bad a season. It’s just been a weird season across the board.”

Twitter: @ESefko

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