DALLAS - The inner-workings of the Dallas Mavericks, from owner Mark Cuban on down, are ripe for examination, especially as the franchise works to build around 22-year-old superstar Luka Doncic. Now come reports of a relationship conflict that includes Doncic and a member of the front office, Haralabos Voulgaris - a conflict that the Mavs, in visits with DallasBasketball.com, deny
From Cuban via Twitter: "Total bullshit.''
Question 1: Are the Mavs sensitive to Doncic’s thoughts on organizational matters - in other words, “Luka-centric''?
Cuban to DBcom: “I pay close attention to what Luka says, what the front office says, what the analytics group and our scouts say. And what Rick says.”
Question 2: Who is in charge of head coach Rick Carlisle’s lineups?
Cuban to DBcom: “The idea that anyone but Rick sets rotations is insulting.”
Question 3: We generally refer to Donnie Nelson as the Mavs GM. Does Voulgaris serve as a "shadow GM''?
Cuban to DBcom: “The idea that the Mavs have a ‘shadow GM’ is laughable.”
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But per a report from The Athletic, there is indeed drama as it relates to Voulgaris' role and his relationship with Doncic.
Cuban hired Voulgaris, a long-time sports gambler and analytics expert, in 2018. The Athletic labels him a “shadow GM” and a most influential voice in the Mavs’ front office. Cuban's defense of Voulgaris: “I really like what Bob brings to the table. He does a great job of supporting (coach) Rick (Carlisle) and the front office with unique data insights ... But he isn’t any more influential than any other data source on the team.”
Voulgaris' title is "director of quantitative research and development.'' But no matter his approval from anyone inside the building, a conflict with Doncic is problematic. Doncic is on-record as saying he plans to sign his supermax contract that’s projected to pay him about $201.5 million over five seasons. And it has been largely thought that what the Mavs do with Kristaps Porzingis (and his relationship with Doncic) would be tied to that decision.
But now there are concerns about other Doncic relationships inside Mavs HQ? One wonders how GM Donnie Nelson and coach Rick Carlisle feel about Voulgaris' influence; contrary to one report, Carlisle has already told DallasBasketball.com he has "zero interest'' in leaving Dallas, so that bullet is being dodged.
In the end, Haralabos Voulgaris, no matter how accomplished he may be, may be telling us the truth about his lack of awareness regarding "drama.''
But he is undoubtedly about to be made aware.