The Dallas Mavericks had a season to forget that was all but wrapped up by a tanking loss to the Chicago Bulls on April 7. Superstar Luka Doncic previously vowed to play as long as Dallas had a chance to reach the postseason, but he only saw action in the first 13 minutes of the game against the Bulls before joining five of his teammates resting on the bench. The Mavs vastly improved their odds of keeping their top ten protected first-round pick with a loss, and owner Mark Cuban chose that route before Friday’s game.
Doncic has been as frustrated as fans have ever seen him this season. He averaged 32.4 points, 8.6 rebounds. 8.0 assists, and 1.4 steals per game, while shooting 49.6 percent shooting from the field, 34.2 percent on his threes, and 74.2 percent from the foul line. Those are MVP-caliber numbers from the 24-year-old, but the team did not win. They made a blockbuster trade for Kyrie Irving in February as Dallas hoped to make a push in the crowded Western Conference only to nosedive and fall out of the playoff picture.
ESPN’s Tim MacMahon wrote a fantastic article about the questions the Mavericks’ are facing going forward where he dropped the rumor that nobody in the organization wants to talk about. Here is a closer look.
Mavericks rumors: Fear Luka Doncic may request trade in 2024 without improvement
The Mavs have to do whatever it takes to build a title contender around Luka. The 24-year-old superstar is on pace to be an all-time great player, and he wants to win. Sources within the team are certainly feeling that pressure, and MacMahon said this in his article.
"Team sources have acknowledged to ESPN that fear exists that Doncic, who publicly and privately expressed extreme frustration this season, could consider requesting a trade as soon as the summer of 2024 if Dallas doesn't make significant progress by then."
It is the team’s worst fear, but signs are pointing that way. The moment the Mavericks lost Jalen Brunson, there were fears that the team would take a step backward. Doncic was fantastic to begin the year, but the team was not. He pushed the front office to improve the roster at the trade deadline.
The Mavs acquired Kyrie Irving only to sink from fourth to 11th in the Western Conference and miss the playoffs for the first time since Luka’s rookie campaign. There was a ton of frustration around the entire organization as Dallas fell flat after the blockbuster trade, and Luka wore it on his sleeve. The 24-year-old known for playing with joy rarely smiled down the stretch, and that could spell doom for the Dallas Mavericks as soon as one year from now.
Can the Mavs make significant upgrades this offseason? They again have limited trade assets, which is why the team desperately tanked to try to keep their draft pick in the top ten this summer. Luka Doncic wants their roster to improve, but will it? Stay tuned to find out.