After a wildly disappointing 2022-23 campaign, the Dallas Mavericks are entering a crucial offseason as they try to build around star guard Luka Doncic.
The 24-year-old and teammate Kyrie Irving weren’t able to guide the Mavs to the 2023 postseason, as the team finished the campaign with a losing record of 38-44.
Doncic has now completed five seasons at the NBA level. He has already established himself as one of the top players in the sport, but for much of his career, he’s had to carry a big load just to keep Dallas afloat. The team tried to give him some help by acquiring Irving this season, but inexplicably, the deal seemingly made the Mavs worse.
Some folks have begun speculating about whether Doncic will eventually try to force his way out of Dallas, but one Western Conference executive doesn’t see that happening.
“The Mavericks are not going there, and everyone knows it,” the executive told Heavy.com. “There is just no way. The only way he can force a trade is to sit out like Ben Simmons did and anyone who knows anything about Luka knows he is not going to do that. There’s just no way.
“Anyone saying they’re going to trade him isn’t looking at the facts, or it is wishful thinking. Why trade him? You have him signed through 2027. This is not an issue until 2025 or 2026. That’s just the reality, the way the CBA is set up. He has not been in town long enough to start asking out.”
Doncic led the league in usage in both the 2020-21 and 2021-22 seasons. This season, he didn’t lead the league in that category, but he had a higher usage rate (37.6 percent) than he did in either of those league-leading seasons.
The four-time All-Star would surely love nothing more than to bring a championship to Dallas. Last season, he got a taste of what playoff success is like, as he led the Mavs to the Western Conference Finals.
But Dallas certainly didn’t look like a contender in the West this season, and the organization will need to spend the summer figuring out why that was the case. Without a doubt, building a contender around Doncic would be one way for the Mavs to settle any fears about him potentially wanting to leave.
The former first-round pick averaged 32.4 points, 8.6 rebounds and 8.0 assists per game this season while shooting 49.6 percent from the field and 34.2 percent from beyond the arc. He earned All-Star honors for a fourth straight year.
Dallas will surely spend the 2023 postseason looking at ways to give Doncic some help moving forward.