The Mavericks are parting ways with general manager and president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson, the team announced Wednesday.
Nelson, who has 36 years of NBA experience, has spent 24 years with the franchise, first starting in Dallas in January 1998.
"I just want to thank Donnie for this 24 years of service to this organization," owner Mark Cuban in a statement. "Donnie has been instrumental to our success and helped bring a championship to Dallas. His hard work, creativity and vision made him a pioneer. Donnie will always be a part of the Mavs family and I wish him all the best."
Under Nelson's leadership, Dallas made the playoffs in 17 of their last 21 seasons, went to the Western Conference finals three times (2002–03, '05–06 and '10–11), advanced to the NBA Finals twice ('05–06, '10–11) and won their first championship in '11. Since Nelson joined the franchise, Dallas has also won 58% of its games, including three 60-plus wins seasons.
Nelson's departure comes in the wake of a recent report into issues within the Mavs' front office. According to The Athletic, star guard Luka Dončić does not have a good relationship with key members of the franchise's leadership, including Haralabos Voulgaris—a highly respected sports gambler—who was hired by Cuban in 2018.
Nelson played a pivotal role in the team's trading up to draft superstar Luka Dončić. And Dončić is now eligible to sign a rookie max contract extension with Dallas after receiving All-NBA honors for two straight seasons.
Still, per The Athletic, Voulgaris, since joining the team's front office, has either initiated or approved virtually every transaction made over the past two seasons. And as Voulgaris's imprint on the team reportedly grew, personnel within the organization became confused as to whether he or Nelson held power.
ESPN's Tim MacMahon reported that Dallas hired Mike Forde's Sportsology—a consulting firm used by NBA teams for hiring general managers—to assist the Mavericks' search for a new head of basketball operations.
The Mavericks finished the regular season fifth in the Western Conference and were eliminated in the first round by the Clippers, their second first-round postseason exit in two seasons.
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