Dončić on Mavericks, ‘I’m happy here, so there’s nothing to worry about.’ But teams are watching
Despite an ugly end to a season that saw the Dallas Mavericks fall from the Western Conference Finals to missing the playoffs entirely, Luka Dončić is happy in Dallas. And — despite speculation — he is not asking for a trade or going anywhere.
But other teams are watching and waiting.
Executives around the league look at Dončić in Dallas, see the troubling warning signs, and think he could be the next Anthony Davis, a superstar talent forcing his way out of an organization. Dallas fans and executives believe this will be more like Giannis Antetokounmpo — other teams were watching, waiting, thinking he would force his way out, instead the Bucks built a title contender around him, Antetokounmpo re-signed and stayed, and went on to win a ring. The question for Dallas is who is their Khris Middleton? Their Jrue Holiday? Is Kyrie Irving that guy?Sean Deveney of Heavy Sports polled some executives of other teams on Dončić, and they are playing the waiting game.
“It is more just wishing than reality,” one Eastern Conference GM told Heavy Sports. “But there is definitely a thought process of this happening eventually, and it being a matter of when and not if. But the truth is, we were saying that about Giannis, too, and that certainly changed. Bradley Beal, guys like that—there is no reason to think that Luka is bolting for the door. Not yet, at least.”
“The Mavericks are not going there, and everyone knows it,” a Western Conference executive told Heavy. “There is just no way... Anyone saying they’re going to trade him isn’t looking at the facts, or it is wishful thinking. Why trade him? You have him signed through 2027. This is not an issue until 2025 or 2026. That’s just the reality, the way the CBA is set up. He has not been in town long enough to start asking out.”
“(The Mavericks) have a few more years and they gotta get their s*** together,” the exec said. “That’s the bottom line.”
That last line sums it up, Dallas has to give him a reason to stay. Owner Mark Cuban admitted as much speaking to reporters last week.
“He’d like to be here the whole time, but we’ve got to earn that,” Cuban said.
That earning has to start this offseason.