The Dallas Mavericks' 2020-21 campaign is officially over after they lost Game 7 against the LA Clippers in the first round of the 2021 NBA playoffs. Following their exit, Luka Doncic's future is in question. They held a 2-0 series lead and then a 3-2 series lead but couldn't salvage even one home victory and now several questions have been raised regarding their future.
Their franchise star, Luka Doncic, was sublime throughout the playoffs, dropping 40+ point games and triple-doubles to try to carry his team to the promised land. However, a lack of help from his teammates led to a heartbreaking early exit.
The finger is getting pointed at the Dallas Mavericks' long-term coach, Rick Carlisle, and his lengthy postseason losing record. He now has six first-round losses in a row and, in fact, hasn't won a single playoff series in a decade. Moreover, the Dallas Mavericks front office hasn't made the necessary additions they need to make for a deep playoff run.
Even if they had won the series against the LA Clippers, they were destined for an exit in the second round. Now fans and analysts are questioning whether Luka Doncic should stay loyal to his franchise or consider moving to another team for a chance to play with elite teammates.
Also Read: When will Luka Doncic be a free agent? We take a look at the Dallas Mavericks star's contract details
Should Luka Doncic stay with the Dallas Mavericks?
Luka Doncic has one more year left on his contract and will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2021-22 NBA season. He is set to earn $8 million this season and $10.1 million next season but the Dallas Mavericks organization are certain to offer him a max extension. Doncic has turned himself into the face of the Dallas Mavericks franchise and an undeniable fan-favorite.
He is often regarded as a 'once-in-a-generation' talent and many analysts have predicted that he will end his career with multiple MVP honors. Luka Doncic is in prime condition to bring the second-ever NBA championship to the Dallas Mavericks, should they surround him with talent.
The reality of the Dallas Mavericks organization is that they are lackluster in making big offseason trades. The 21 years of Dirk Nowitzki's career was riddled with first-round exits and disappointing playoff losses. In 2007, Nowitzki's MVP season, a 1st-seeded Dallas Mavericks with a 67-15 record, lost in the first round to the 8th-seeded Golden State Warriors. They won the NBA championship in 2011 but almost every other season has been a postseason disappointment, primarily due to a lack of superstar teammates next to Nowitzki. Dirk Nowitzki, who takes loyalty in high regard, never asked for a trade but Luka Doncic might have other ideas.
Doncic led the Dallas Mavericks in the 2021 NBA playoffs on his young shoulders and was asked to orchestrate the entire offense on his own. He would often account for 80% of the team's field goals via points and assists.
Luka Doncic became the youngest player in NBA history to average 35+ points per game in a postseason. He averaged 35.7 points, 10.3 assists and 7.9 rebounds per game in the first-round series against the LA Clippers. Doncic averaged 27.7 points, 8.6 assists and 8.0 rebounds per game in the regular season.
Luka Doncic played 284 minutes in the first-round series and the Dallas Mavericks won those minutes by seven points. The Mavericks played 52 minutes without him in the series and were outscored by 43 points in those minutes. Moreover, they scored 274 field goals in the seven games played. Doncic scored or assisted on 161 of them, hence he directly created 58.6% of their buckets.
It is evident that talent like Luka Doncic is hard to find and doesn't come by often. But if he keeps putting his body at risk by trying to win every game for the team, he might consider leaving the franchise if the doesn't make major moves in the offseason. Nevertheless, he is still young and in just his third year. He has broken and set several records already and if he sticks with this team, you can be certain he will end up with numerous Mavericks records. Doncic can have his #77 jersey hang in the rafters and can be a Dallas legend if he stays with the team for long.
The Dallas Mavericks have this offseason and another year to prove to Doncic that their organization is worth sticking around for.