The Dallas Mavericks reportedly fear that superstar Luka Doncic could request a trade as soon as the summer of 2024.
Dallas, who made the Western Conference Finals last season, has taken a major step back in the 2022-23 season. The team officially was eliminated from playoff contention on Friday night with a loss to the Chicago Bulls.
“Team sources have acknowledged to ESPN that fear exists that Doncic, who publicly and privately expressed extreme frustration this season, could consider requesting a trade as soon as the summer of 2024 if Dallas doesn’t make significant progress by then,” ESPN’s Tim MacMahon wrote.
The Mavericks only played Doncic for 13 minutes in Friday night’s loss and sat several other key players, such as Kyrie Irving and Christian Wood.
Dallas still had a shot to earn the No. 10 seed in the West, but the team opted to play more of its bench in an attempt to keep its first-round pick in the upcoming NBA draft.
The Mavericks traded their 2023 first-round pick to the New York Knicks a few seasons ago in a deal for Kristaps Porzingis, but the selection is top-10 protected. Dallas has a solid shot of landing a top-10 pick in the upcoming draft.
The decision to wave the white flag on this season is a unique one with a player like Doncic on the roster, especially since Dallas moved valuable assets at this year’s trade deadline to acquire Irving.
The Mavericks have tried a few different players alongside Doncic, including Porzingis and Irving, but they saw their most success after Porzingis was dealt last season to the Washington Wizards for a package that included guard Spencer Dinwiddie.
Dinwiddie and Jalen Brunson were instrumental in the Mavericks’ success last season, but both players are no longer with the team.
Dallas didn’t re-sign Brunson last offseason, and he has helped lead the New York Knicks to the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference. Dinwiddie was moved to the Brooklyn Nets in the deal for Irving before the trade deadline.
There’s no doubt that the 2022-23 season has been a massive failure for Dallas after the success of last season.
Doncic may not be ready to ask out just yet, but if the team doesn’t take a step forward soon, it’s hard to see the superstar wanting to stick around to miss the postseason again.
It will be interesting to see how the Mavericks attempt to build a winner around Doncic this coming offseason.