DALLAS - After blowing a 2-0 series lead in the first round of the NBA playoffs, everybody who watches and cares about the Dallas Mavericks has an opinion on what should come next for the Luka Doncic-led franchise.
Of course, one guy’s opinion matters more than most.
"We need a secondary ball-handler with some size," Mavs owner Mark Cuban told the Daily Beast in a recent interview.
Dallas has been sent back to the drawing board after falling to the Los Angeles Clippers in Game 7 of a series in which Doncic was tremendous - but was also carrying a tremendous burden.
There is no wide-spread speculation regarding the Mavs roster issues - a good thing, as MFFLs’ passion trumps apathy. But there is also some level of discontent because Dallas is in many ways not truly better than it was a year ago.
Does this group deserve more time to develop? Or is the disgruntlement that we know exists behind the scenes enough to force change in ways beyond acquiring “a second ball-handler”? As it regards Kristaps Porzingis, Cuban is joining coach Rick Carlisle and Doncic himself is taking the company line.
“KP will spread the court, make threes, is a great cutter, and block shots,” Cuban said in his quickie evaluation of the existing roster. “Luka will create. We’ve got shooters with Tim (Hardaway) and Trey [Burke] and Maxi [Kleber] and others.
“But we need someone to take the pressure off of Luka, so instead of him having to have the ball in his hands for 40 minutes, it could be 32 minutes, and that’s what we need."
There could be numerous options available that fit that description, whether it be via free agency or trade. Star-level players like DeMar DeRozan or Kemba Walker could be pursued, as could guards like Lonzo Ball, Marcus Smatt, Mike Conley and Kyle Lowry, Goran Dragic is idolized by Doncic and the Mavs have tried to acquire him previously.
And that list of Mavs options doesn’t include an assortment of bigs and wings who could also help. But Cuban’s recognition that the central solution is “helping Luka”? That’s a virtually undebatable fact.