DALLAS - The lack of interpersonal chemistry between Dallas Mavericks stars Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis - “lack of interpersonal chemistry” meaning they’ve developed a dislike for each other - is not the story.
The story is what owner Mark Cuban and his new franchise leaders Nico Harrison and Jadon Kidd … and maybe J.J. Barea? … are going to do about it.
KP wants to be a star on equal footing and it rubs him the wrong way that in his mind, the Mavs have kept him from doing that. Doncic thinks poorly of some of KP’s off-court behavior.
Remember when Porzingis broke the rules and snuck off to an L.A. strip club during the playoffs? The Mavs pretended to laugh it off; privately, Doncic wasn’t chuckling.
Cuban has acknowledged the conflicts, calling them “dust-ups” and comparing them to when 2011 NBA title team members Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry clashed.
Can this Mavs marriage be similarly saved? Can another member of that championship bunch save it?
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We have broken down in great detail the ways that Porzingis can be dealt and a 12-step system that would send him out for talent and for additional cap space. That might be the eventual answer. (And yeah, chase the "big fish'' here, starting with the noisily unhappy Blazers star Damian Lillard.)
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Rather than dump Porzingis for less than his optimal (when healthy, happy and productive) value, what if he can be salvaged? That should be part of Harrison's job and part of Kidd's job. But Barea, who told DallasBasketball.com last week that he desires to join the Mavs' staff and has now met with Kidd on the subject, is uniquely qualified to possibly unite the two feuding teammates.
Barea was the first Mav to befriend Spanish-speaker Doncic when the kid came to town. And guess who was the first Mav to befriend Spanish-speaker Porzingis when he got here?
JJB's understanding of this team's delicate locker-room chemistry was missed this year, and maybe his absence is why the chemistry went awry.
So, how do the Mavericks seek to erase the animosity that exists between Doncic and Porzingis? They ought to start by asking Barea what to do. And maybe by hiring him to do it.