DALLAS - After coming up short in the opening round of the NBA playoffs, the Dallas Mavericks decided it was time to make a change from a leadership standpoint. Long-time general manager Donnie Nelson and the team opted to part ways.
And now there are odd rumors that Luka Doncic might want to part ways with Dallas as well.
Amid all the understandable emotion and consternation ... Let's use some common sense here.
Let’s start with Doncic, just now speaking from Slovenia where he is with his national team, on Nelson's Mavericks exit.
Said Luka in a Thursday press conference:
"It was kind of tough to me. I really like Donnie. I know 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."
During an appearance on ESPN's "The Jump" on Wednesday, Marc J. Spears, who is a senior NBA writer for The Undefeated, reported how Nelson's departure made Doncic "really, really upset.''
"Donnie was fired. Let's just be real, Donnie was fired. He's been there since 1988, and I've heard that one guy that's really upset about it is the one guy you don't want upset about it. The one guy: Luka Doncic. They were really, really close. And, actually, Doncic is in Slovenia. He's working out with the Slovenian National Team, getting prepared for the Olympics.
"In terms of the $200 million extension, how are talks going? People close to him are saying, 'What talk?' There's no talks right now."
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Let's pick this apart:
*Regardless of Doncic's feelings toward the Mavericks' decision to move on from Nelson, logically, the fact still remains: he's signing his super-max extension with Dallas.
*What about the lack of "talks''? Talks aren't necessary in June given the date he can officially put pen to paper is Aug. 6. Indeed, even then, there will not be "negotiations.'' It's a set CBA-driven contract for five years and worth, in our calculations, $201.5 million.
*And the Doncic/Donnie relationship? DallasBasketball.com has been writing about that since before Luka was even drafted. But we will offer you two accurate looks at the situation.
One comes from ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski prior to Game 5 of the Hawks-Sixers matchup. He noted how Doncic is "disappointed'' by the Nelson decision but rather, it won't alter his future with the organization.
“Here is what it won’t impact: Luka Doncic’s future with the Mavericks. Luka is disappointed for Donnie Nelson and was very fond of him ... But life goes on. Players aren’t tethered to coaches/executives in this league.”
And from our own Mike Fisher: "Luka's relationship with Donnie is a tight one, pre-dating by years Luka landing with the Mavs. But that's way different than thinking Cuban fired Donnie against the wishes of Luka - which simply makes no sense.''
And of course, now Doncic’s own words. Sad to see Donnie go. But no indication from Luka that is alters his own status.
The top priority for the Mavericks and Doncic remains unchanged after moving on from Nelson. Winning is what matters most. Whoever ends up running the show will need to successfully achieve those results to keep Doncic happy.
And that's the best way to get Luka Doncic and the next Mavs GM to develop a tight relationship: Win.