Over the years, one of the side jobs that has cropped up for many NBA stars is adding other NBA stars. If you’ve established yourself among the league’s elite, you’re usually called upon to try to get other elite players to want to come and play for your team.
Mavs star Luka Doncic is definitely an NBA star. But he hasn’t spent much time trying to bring other top talent to Dallas, according to ESPN insider Tim MacMahon, a longtime Mavericks reporter. This was particularly highlighted when Dallas lost guard Jalen Brunson in free agency.
“I think if you’re Luka, who, by the way, they seek his advice, but he’s not heavily involved in personnel decisions,” MacMahon said on the Hoops Collective podcast. “He hasn’t shown any interest in getting heavily involved. He’s been spending a lot of his off-season in Europe, he’s playing with the Slovenian national team again this summer. He’s not a guy who showed the desire to be a recruiter.
Indeed, the Mavericks have been mostly quiet in the free agent market since Doncic arrived in 2018. They signed DeAndre Jordan shortly after Doncic was drafted, but Jordan was kicked out as part of the deal. traded Kristaps Porzingis in February 2019. Other than that, the only significant free agents the team signed were Seth Curry in 2019 (he was traded months later for Josh Richardson) and, now, JaVale McGee this summer.
Been tough for the Mavericks
The question is whether the Mavs have enough supporting pieces for Doncic, especially after a trip to the conference finals last spring. The Mavericks lost g Brunson to a whopping four-year, $104 million contract handed out by the Knicks, a deal widely seen as an overpayment by New York. That may be true, but Doncic and the Mavs are now without the team’s second leading scorer.
Brunson averaged 16.3 points in the regular season and bumped that number up to 21.6 points in the playoffs.
“You look at this, and you say we just lost our second-best player for nothing,” MacMahon noted. He went on to point out that the Mavericks traded for Christian Wood but fired Boban Marjanovic, Doncic’s best friend on the team, as part of the deal. Not only that, but the Mavericks failed to get Doncic’s mentor, Goran Dragic, because (according to Dragic) when making Dragic an offer, Dallas officials told him he wasn’t going to play much. .
“He doesn’t really have a confidant on the team anymore,” MacMahon said.
Dirk Nowitzki has grown as a recruiter
This falls on the Mavs. The recruitment issue, however, is one for Doncic. He is at a disadvantage, having spent most of his basketball life in European professional leagues, having failed to bond through AAU tournaments and All-Star games that many American players have.
But Dirk Nowitzki was in a similar situation during his career. Early in his tenure, he didn’t really get involved in team decisions during the offseason, but he eventually became both an advisor and a scout. The Mavs had a frustrating history of hitting with their free agent targets at that time, but Nowitzki was at least involved.
Maybe Doncic will get there in time. But for now, Dragic is in Chicago, Brunson is in New York, and the Mavs’ summer remains disappointing.
Heavier on Mavericks news
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