If Mark Cuban lets Luka Doncic walk out the door and sign with another franchise it will not only be his greatest failure as the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, but it should prompt every fan to boycott the team until he sells it.
While Doncic has intimated he intends to sign a max contract to remain with the Mavericks, the departure of team president and GM Donnie Nelson is a potential water cannon blast to what should be a long marriage.
Don’t panic. A power lunch with Johnny Walker or Jose Cuervo, however, is more appropriate.
Send the tab to Cuban, because this one is entirely on him.
While preparing to play with the Slovenian national team as it attempts to qualify for the Summer Olympics, Doncic on Thursday addressed the departure of Nelson.
“It was kind of tough to me,” he said. “I really like Donnie. (I’ve) known 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.”
Oh, Mark … no. No. No. No.
If the Dallas Mavericks lose Luka Doncic it will be the single greatest player screwup any team has ever committed in DFW.
The Texas Rangers trading Sammy Sosa before he was Sammy Sosa; the Dallas Stars giving goalie Kari Lehtonen a cap-killing contract; the Dallas Cowboys picking Quincy Carter in the second round of the NFL Draft and immediately making him the starting quarterback.
The previous winner in this category is Cuban allowing Steve Nash to leave via free agency in 2004 to Phoenix where he would go on to win NBA MVP awards.
The developments in the last few days only improve our chances of witnessing this man-made disaster from happening.
Doncic’s comments sound like he was not expecting Nelson’s departure, which means Donnie was indeed fired.
There exists some level of disagreement on how to run a team within the Mavs: new-school vs. old school.
Graduates of either school would agree that Doncic is one of the best players on the planet, and you make sure everything is done to keep him here.
Nelson has not spoken about his departure from the Mavs.
Nelson isn’t talking for a reason.
If anyone knows the reality of the NBA by now it should be Cuban. This is not only a player’s league, but a superstar league.
When you land your superstar, he’s the franchise. No one else. Not the head coach. Not the GM. Not the owner.
Mavs coach Rick Carlisle grasps that as well as anyone in the NBA, which explains why he’s been around for so long.
Cuban’s experience with a superstar is the outlier of outliers, Dirk Nowitzki. Both in terms of talent and personality.
Cuban has to be smart enough to know that he can’t treat Doncic the same way he handled Dirk and expect the same behaviors.
Dirk was going to be loyal regardless. Believing Doncic will behave the same way is not just a risk, it’s stupid.
Players of this generation know they have the keys, whereas Dirk was the good German who followed the rules, and did what he was told.
Players of this generation don’t flinch at the thought of jumping from team to team, i.e. LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis, Kyrie Irving, etc.
Doncic will soon be eligible to sign a five-year, $201.5 million extension that would keep him here through 2027. The fifth year of that deal could be a player option.
Shortly after the Mavs were eliminated in the playoffs, Doncic intimated he wants to sign that extension.
As of right now he is under contract for the 2021-22 season, and potentially eligible to be a restricted free agent next summer.
He will stay provided he thinks the Mavs have a chance to win, and he is comfortable.
Donnie Nelson was not a brilliant GM, and his time with the Mavs may simply have run its course.
Considering this franchise has not won a playoff series since it won the NBA title in 2011, finding a new GM and president of basketball operations is appropriate.
What the Mavericks don’t need is to give their superstar a single reason to consider different alternatives, which they just did.
That is entirely on the owner.
Right now, take a drink. If Donic doesn’t sign the extension this summer, panic.
If he leaves, boycott the team.