The Dallas Mavericks are in disarray, as the franchise has seen its general manager Donnie Nelson and head coach Rick Carlisle part ways with the team in the last 72 hours. Nelson completed 24 seasons with the franchise, while Carlisle was at the helm for 13 years. The duo helped the Mavericks win their only NBA Championship in 2011.
On top of this debacle, the Mavericks are also fighting a war to keep their talisman Luka Doncic happy, as the Slovenian superstar is reportedly miffed with organization.
Can the end of the Donnie Nelson-Rick Carlisle era could lead to Luka Doncic's exit from Dallas Mavericks?
Luka Doncic was drafted by the Atlanta Hawks with the third overall pick in 2018, and was later traded to the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for draft rights to Trae Young and a protected future first-round pick in 2019. Doncic took to the NBA like a fish to water, quickly establishing himself as a superstar.
There were doubts about Doncic's ability to succeed in the NBA, considering he came from Europe and his lack of athleticism. But after three years in the league, all those doubts have been quashed. Doncic has racked up a Rookie of the Year award, 2xAll-Star and two All-NBA selections, and is already part of the top-five players in the league conversation.
Donnie Nelson was the brains behind Doncic coming to the Dallas Mavericks. Nelson has an eye for European talent, as was evident when he drafted Dirk Nowitzki back in the 1998 draft. Many considered this move to be a risk considering Nowitzki was of European descent, but the move turned out to be a brilliant one. The German led the Mavericks to their first title in 2011, and retired as the greatest European to have ever played in the league.
Doncic had a strong relationship with the man who drafted him, as Nelson had scouted him since he was 14 years of age. The Real Madrid product conveyed his thoughts about Nelson's departure recently, saying:
"It was kind of tough to me. I really like Donnie. I know him since I was a kid and he was the one that drafted me. It was tough for me seeing that, but I'm not the one making decisions there."
A report by The Athletic suggests that there is tension between the Dallas Mavericks and Luka Doncic because of Haralabos Voulgaris, the team's director of quantitative and research development.
Voulgaris and Doncic don't share the best of relationships, and according to the same report, even Nelson didn't like Voulgaris' interference in matters which were out of his scope of work.
Luka Doncic is eligible for a Supermax contract extension this summer, which he intends to sign. The Dallas Mavericks view Doncic as the cornerstone of the franchise, a player they can build a championship contender around.
The organization would've wanted to project a stable future to Doncic with the extension looming, but Nelson's firing and dysfunction within the organization certainly doesn't paint a pretty picture.
Even if Luka Doncic signs a contract in the 2021 NBA offseason, it looks like the Dallas Mavericks will have to do some major convincing to keep him in the long term.