rick carlisle’s departure adds another dimension to the brewing drama surrounding luka doncic and the dallas mavericks. A day earlier, the Mavs parted ways with president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson. this has created all sorts of reports and rumors left and right. after all, with a generational basketball player right in the palm of your hand, front office drama should probably be the last thing on your mind.
Ultimately, it’s doncic and the mavs who know the status of their relationship, if all is well or is it rotting to the core. however, previous reports along with the departure of nelson and carlisle give us some indication of the root of the problem between the slovenian and the organization. Let’s go over a few and develop three theories about what’s wrong with the Luka Doncic-Mavs relationship.
friction between rick carlisle and luka doncic
Just after doncic’s entry into the league in 2018, carlisle never mince words when talking about the slovenian. Carlisle quickly believed that Doncic is a generational talent and even compared his style of play to NBA legend Larry Bird. Carlisle backed up his words of praise by giving Doncic the freedom to orchestrate the offense. This achieved relative success during his three-year association with the Mavs. fans got excited about what’s to come.
Carlisle, being the great coach that he is, is very capable of adapting to any situation. this seemed to be the case in the first season of his relationship with the mavs.
However, by default, Carlisle is known to be a controlling trainer who wants to follow the system he developed himself. This strict mindset has caused him to butt heads with Jason Kidd. Thanks to his assistant coaches Dwane Casey and Terry Stotts, Carlisle gave Kidd a lot more room to operate. The result: Carlisle won his first title as coach. It would be safe to assume that Carlisle would have learned his lesson when Rajon Rondo joined the Mavs in 2014.
This was not the case, as the veteran point guard was controversially benched for the remainder of the series after Game 2 of the first-round matchup between the Mavs and Houston Rockets.
A pattern seems to have emerged. Carlisle can’t coexist that well with basketball minds equal to or even better than him.
doncic does not agree with a front office figure
The Athletic released a report earlier this week that focused on Bob Voulgaris, Director of Quantitative Research and Development for the Mavs. The report noted a particular case in which Doncic and Voulgaris had a verbal altercation. doncic, who apparently has difficulty controlling his emotions, was signaled by voulgaris to calm down during an impending outburst. In response, Doncic reportedly said, “Don’t tell me to calm down.”
It’s hard to be sure if this incident alone marred the relationship between the two parties at the mavs. emotions are at an all time high during a game. spoken words, however harsh, don’t carry much weight after the final timbre.
A deeper examination of voulgaris’s role with the mavs might reveal a thing or two about how he screwed up the mavericks-doncic relationship. As for one, there are questions about Voulgaris’s mysterious past. It is known that he was a professional player in the 1990s who made millions simply by observing the game management tendencies of various coaches.
apart from this, mavs owner mark cuban is reported to have developed a liking for voulgaris’ analytical approach to the game.
While a new approach to reading the game is always welcome, it will inevitably create tension with those who prefer to study the game by eye. doncic highlighted the mavs because it is one of the best products of the european basketball brand. his game emphasizes teamwork, movement, and crisp passing (from all positions), among others. analytics are great. but there can be no substitute for mastering the fundamentals and the obvious with the naked eye.
cuban, yearning for a fresh approach, developed a predilection for voulgaris strategies, so much so that the executive developed a deeper and more active role in the mavs. Reports say that he has been involved in game tweaking, a rare, if not unheard of, thing for front office roles.
while it was mavs president of basketball operations donnie nelson who arranged the trade for doncic in the 2018 nba draft, cuban reportedly consulted voulgaris (then newly hired) before squeezing the trigger. These multiple roles have led some to say that he is the second most powerful figure in the organization behind Cuban.
doncic upset with the firing of donnie nelson in the mavs reorganization
Cubans’ taste for voulgaris inevitably overshadowed nelson. The final seal was made after the Mavs parted ways with him after a 24-year association. As noted, it was Nelson who saw Doncic’s potential and pushed for the trade for Trae Young in the 2018 NBA Draft. This wasn’t just a case of Nelson seeing Doncic during a scouting trip.
After Nelson’s firing, Doncic shared that he has known the executive since he was a child. maybe nelson was the last rope doncic held on to all along. Without Nelson in the fold, there are now more questions than answers regarding the Mavs’ future.
Of course, they will secure the Slovenian for the next five years with a hefty $200 million contract. but will they be able to secure at least one title? Will Cuban find the right guy who can put together the perfect team to complement the new basketball star with the Mavs?