DALLAS (AP)  After years of bankrolling one of the NBA’s highest-paid teams and paying more than $1 million in fines for haranguing the refs, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is making perhaps his biggest sacrifice yet.

He’s gone silent.

Cuban hardly has been heard from since the Mavericks got out of the first round of the playoffs.

During their second-round series against the Los Angeles Lakers, Cuban was as visible as ever. But he either avoided interviews or only made small talk with reporters.

Asked in an email Thursday if there was a reason for his recent low profile, Cuban replied, “Nope.”

The Western Conference finals will begin in Dallas on Sunday or Tuesday, giving Cuban more chances to speak…or to keep quiet.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)