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After the Dallas Mavericks were officially eliminated from playoff contention on Friday night, the team reportedly has an even more crucial situation to worry about.
According to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon, “fear exists” within the Mavs organization that star point guard Luka Doncic “could consider requesting a trade as soon as the summer of 2024 if Dallas doesn’t make significant progress by then” after he “publicly and privately expressed extreme frustration this season.”
Dončić is in the first season of his five-year, $215 million supermax contract, which includes a player option for the final year. Earlier this week, Mavs owner Marc Cuban acknowledged that Dončić’s optimism for his long-term future with the team is not what it used to be, saying: “He’d like to be here the whole time. But we’ve got to earn that.”
The 24-year-old Slovenian sensation said recently that he’s not happy with his situation.
“I think you can see it with me on the court. Sometimes I don’t feel it’s me. I’m just being out there,” Dončić said after Dallas’ loss to the Charlotte Hornets on March 25. “I used to have really fun, smiling on the court, but it’s just been so frustrating for a lot of reasons, not just basketball.”
Dončić played just 13 minutes in Friday night’s game against the Chicago Bulls, which Dallas went on to lose 115-112 on its home floor at American Airlines Center to fall to 38-43 this year. The Mavs were without Kyrie Irving and four other members of their regular rotation, as the organization made the decision to rest key players despite being on the cusp of falling short of the play-in tournament.
This is not the situation Dallas was expecting to be in after the team acquired Irving in a blockbuster trade with the Brooklyn Nets two months ago. The move was supposed to provide Dončić with an All-Star caliber running mate who could shoulder some of the offensive load. Instead, the Mavs went 9-17 since Irving’s debut, as the team was marred by defensive woes and subpar crunch-time execution.
The Mavs face the imminent predicament of possibly losing Irving, who is a free agent this summer and will surely test the waters on the open market. However, Dončić is the face of the franchise, so Dallas would be wise to address his frustrations sooner rather than later.
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