Dallas Mavericks star guard Luka Doncic appears to be pretty upset over the direction of the organization following yet another first-round exit in the NBA Playoffs.
Dallas’ decision to fire longtime general manager Donnie Nelson on Wednesday after nearly a quarter century with the organization might now add another layer to this.
Speaking on ESPN’s “The Jump” after news of Nelson’s firing broke, Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated relayed a message that Doncic is “really upset” over the move and will address it with the media on Thursday.
Those who exist within the confines of reality can’t be considered too surprised by this latest information. Reports of Doncic’s discontent with the Mavericks’ organization stems from owner Mark Cuban hiring Haralabos Voulgaris to be an analytics guy back in 2018. While the boisterous Mavericks owner has denied these rumors, Spears didn’t make up these comments simply to create more drama. That’s not how the longtime NBA insider has operated throughout his career.
As for Luka Doncic being upset with the firing of Donnie Nelson, Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News pushed back against this in a series of tweets.
What is happening with Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks?
As we saw with Russell Wilson of the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks, premature playoff exits can lead to immediate frustration. There’s a chance this is the case with Doncic after his Mavericks fell in seven games to the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round of the NBA Playoffs. It could pass.
After all, Doncic was historically good in the seven-game set — averaging 35.7 points, 7.9 rebounds and 10.3 assists. It’s the supporting cast, embattled big man Kristaps Porzingis included, who let Dallas down big time.
It also makes sense that Doncic would be upset over Nelson being fired given their personal relationship. Nelson was one of those who spearheaded a draft day trade back in 2018 that brought the Slovenian to Dallas.
There’s another realistic scenario in play here that suggests Luka Doncic just isn’t happy with the Mavericks. They have struggled fielding a decent supporting cast behind him since he entered NBA stardom as a rookie back in 2018-19. Further struggles in this regard could lead to a worsening relationship.
For now, the 22-year-old Doncic is likely going to take a wait-and-see approach. It was reported immediately after Dallas’ playoff exit that the All-NBA performer will ultimately accept a five-year rookie-level max extension worth north of $200 million this summer.
However, that’s all about the green. Under his current contract, Doncic is earning just north of $8.1 million annually. He would be foolish not to accept said extension, regardless of the issues the guard might have with his organization.
Either way, this is a situation that warrants monitoring heading into the offseason. As we’ve seen with other star players in the past, rifts with front offices could end up leading to the unforeseen happening. Did anyone reading this article think James Harden would request a trade from the Houston Rockets before it became public record? I didn’t think so!
The pressure is now on Dallas’ organization to cater to its star player. That starts with finding a new general manager of his liking and adding core pieces to help the transcendent talent become a perennial championship contender. If that doesn’t happen, reports of Luka Doncic being upset with the organization will be a common theme in Big D.