The Dallas Mavericks reportedly have a “two-year window” to convince superstar Luka Doncic that the team can contend for an NBA title.
Doncic is under contract with the Mavericks through the 2026-27 season, but it’s always possible that he could request a trade from the team if he isn’t happy with the franchise’s direction.
“I think they have a two-year window,” ESPN’s Tim MacMahon said on the Hoop Collective podcast. “This season and next season going into that  summer. I think they have a two-year window where, you know, like Milwaukee did with Giannis [Antetokounmpo], I think in that window they really need to convince Luka that he has a chance to contend year in and year out right here in Dallas. If they can’t get it done in that two-year window, I’m not going to sit here and tell you that he’s going to force a trade or ask for a trade. I’m just saying at that point if he’s not happy, he has all the leverage in the world if he would be looking for leave.
“I’m also not going to pretend I know his innermost thoughts, but obviously I’m around this team on a regular basis. I know people who do know Luka well. I don’t think Luka will look for reasons to leave. I think he’d be perfectly happy spending his entire career in Dallas. But if he doesn’t have to look for reasons and they’re slamming him in the face, then that’s a problem.
“He’s also a guy who is a ruthless competitor, which means he loves winning. He’s used to winning. He won championships with Real Madrid. He won a EuroBasket championship with the Slovenian national team. He also detests losing. Like can’t handle it. Whether it’s cards, ping pong, but especially NBA games.”
It makes sense that Doncic wants to win, especially since he’s proven he can carry a team to the playoffs even with a subpar roster around him.
Last season, Dallas made it to the Western Conference Finals despite finishing the regular season as the No. 4 seed. The team knocked off the Utah Jazz and the top-seeded Phoenix Suns on its way to the Western Conference Finals.
The Mavericks ultimately came up short, losing to the Golden State Warriors. The issue for Dallas is the roster construction around Doncic, as the team lacks a proven second star to help him.
Dallas began building around Doncic with forward Kristaps Porzingis, but injuries and ineffective play led to the team dealing him last season to the Washington Wizards.
The Mavericks were able to get back guard Spencer Dinwiddie in the deal, who has been a solid piece alongside Doncic. However, this past offseason, Dallas lost arguably its second best player in Jalen Brunson in free agency.
Brunson signed with the New York Knicks, and Dallas hasn’t been able to replace him on the roster. It has led to a bigger role for Dinwiddie, who has struggled at times with his shot.
The Mavericks did trade for forward Christian Wood, but he is set to hit free agency following the 2022-23 season.
If Dallas can’t prove that it can get more talent around Doncic than it currently has, it’s going to be hard to sell him on staying with the team for the long term.
The bright side is that the Mavericks have already made a deep playoff run, so the team may be just one or two moves away from truly contending.
It will be interesting to see how Doncic’s future pans out in Dallas, especially since he’s locked in contract wise for several more seasons.