The Dallas Mavericks were bounced in the first round of the playoffs by the LA Clippers for the second straight, despite Luka Doncic putting on an otherworldly performance. The Clippers had the more talented and deeper roster. Dallas’s flaws were on full display, and no amount of Luka Magic could cover for them in the seven-game defeat.
The most important offseason in franchise history started before the organization hoped. Luka is eligible for a rookie max extension worth over $200 million this summer. He appears likely to sign it, but the roster has to improve around the 22-year-old to keep him in Dallas long-term. The Mavs have cap space but need to figure out how to maximize their roster.
Things went from bad to worse for fans after The Athletic reported (subscription required) an issue between Doncic and Mavericks employee Haralabos Voulgaris. The more concerning thing could be Voulgaris’ impact on the team’s decision-making moving forward. Let us take a closer look.
Mavericks need to clean up decision-making to keep Luka Doncic long-term
Tim Cato and Sam Amick did some fantastic reporting in the piece that delves deep into the Mavericks’ current front office structure and its dysfunction. They noted that Doncic plans to sign his max extension this offseason. The primary issue becomes building around him long-term.
The Athletic reports that Voulgaris has been “the most influential voice within the Mavericks from office”, according to league sources. He has had a hand in transactions, lineups, and rotations since joining the team in 2018. The most worrying report was Voulgaris not asking the scouting department about either of the team’s first two draft choices in 2020.
The Dallas Mavericks need to clean up the dysfunction in the front office. Owner Mark Cuban has the final say in all decisions. Things are not working out with Voulgaris as his top consultant. The roster simply is not skilled enough. The team has been plagued by not making moves since trading for Kristaps Porzingis in 2019. Voulgaris’ poor relationship with Luka Doncic is the cherry on the sundae that should have the Mavs looking elsewhere.
The Athletic article notes that Voulgaris’ contract is set to expire this summer, and the team should not renew it. Things have not worked out and appear headed down a path that ends with Luka Doncic departing for another franchise. Changes need to be made and now.
Fans should not be concerned yet. The Dallas Mavericks have time to fix their front office issues and build a contender around Luka Doncic. The relationship is not fractured beyond repair. They must clean up their decision-making, add more talent around the 22-year-old superstar, and get everyone back on the same page. It will not be easy, but building a title-contending team never is in the NBA.
It will be interesting to see what moves the Mavs make this offseason. Will it be the next step in building their second championship team or a move toward losing a generational talent because he cannot win? Stay tuned.