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Report: Luka Doncic dislikes Mavericks de-facto co-general manager, Haralabos Voulgaris

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and Luka Doncic

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 02: Owner Mark Cuban of the Dallas Mavericks talks with Luka Doncic #77 during the second half of Game Five of the Western Conference first round series against Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center on June 2, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

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Luka Doncic – a historically great young player – is set to sign a super-max contract extension with the Mavericks this summer.

But Dallas still has problems.

Apparently including Haralabos Voulgaris, a professional sports gambler whom the Mavericks hired a few years ago.

Tim Cato and Sam Amick of The Athletic:

“He doesn’t know how to talk to people,” that same source says.

That’s best exemplified by Dallas’ franchise player disliking him.

Multiple league and team sources tell The Athletic that Voulgaris has been the most influential voice within the Mavericks front office since joining the team, either initiating or approving virtually every transaction made over the past two seasons. Those same sources add that Voulgaris has frequently gone as far as scripting the starting lineups and rotations for longtime head coach Rick Carlisle.

“We had two general managers,” a team source says.

I recommend reading Cato’s and Amick’s full article for examples of how Doncic’s feelings toward Voulgaris manifested. The piece ultimately paints a picture of a franchise with clear leadership issues.

That, like on the business side, falls on Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.

Cuban made Donnie Nelson president of basketball operations, the highest-ranking title in the front office. Cuban made – and plans to keep – Rick Carlisle as head coach, the person ostensibly in charge of game-planning. And, of course, Cuban frequently inserts himself into decision-making, which his right.

Where does that leave Voulgaris?

If Dallas employees don’t know where Voulgaris’ authority begins and ends, that’s a problem. Clear roles generally improve morale and productivity.

That said, many people just want more power and complain whenever they don’t have it. It’s not hard to find scouts who feel their input wasn’t properly considered on draft day (an incident Cato and Amick mention in regard to Voulgaris).

But that’s a relatively low-level interoffice issue. The franchise player disliking Voulgaris is far more significant. If Cuban values Voulgaris’ contributions that much, the owner must figure out how to convince Doncic of Voulgaris’ value. Hiring an outsider like Voulgaris was always bound to be bumpy. Cuban is responsible for getting everyone on the same page.

If that doesn’t happen, we know who’s disposable in the battle between superstar player and team executive.