The Mavericks and longtime president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson have agreed to part ways, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). The club issued a press release confirming the news.
Nelson, who was originally hired by the Mavs in 1998, was promoted to the role of GM/president in 2005 and had been one of the NBA’s longest-tenured lead basketball operations executives. Following Danny Ainge‘s exit from his role with the Celtics two weeks ago, only Pat Riley and Gregg Popovich had held the positions of president of basketball operations with their respective teams longer than Nelson.
“I just want to thank Donnie for his 24 years of service to this organization,” Mavs owner Mark Cuban said in a statement. “Donnie has been instrumental to our success and helped bring a championship to Dallas. His hard work, creativity, and vision made him a pioneer. Donnie will always be a part of the Mavs family and I wish him all the best.”
Since Nelson ascended to the top of the Mavericks’ basketball operations department in 2005, the club has earned playoff berths in all but four seasons, making the NBA Finals twice and winning a title in 2011. While Cuban is more involved in roster and personnel decisions than most team owners, Nelson played a part in all of the team’s major moves over the last decade-and-a-half, including the trade up for Luka Doncic in the 2018 draft.
The Mavericks’ front office shakeup occurs just two days after a fascinating report from The Athletic suggested that Haralabos Voulgaris, Dallas’ director of quantitative research and development, had essentially become the team’s co-GM, earning an outsized influence in the basketball operations department.
The Athletic’s report stated that Voulgaris had either initiated or approved virtually every one of the Mavs’ roster moves within the last two years, and that his influence has been virtually on par with Nelson’s.
Cuban called the report “total bulls–t” and told ESPN’s Jordan Schultz (Twitter link) that he listens to everyone in the front office, adding, “The whole idea that there is a shadow GM is ridiculous.”
However, multiple sources close to the situation were cited in The Athletic’s story, and Nelson’s departure from the franchise strongly suggests there was some truth to it. The decision for Nelson to leave the Mavericks was actually made on Sunday, a day before The Athletic’s report was published, tweets Tim MacMahon of ESPN.
With Nelson out and Voulgaris’ future with the franchise uncertain, per The Athletic, the Mavericks have hired a search firm as they begin to seek a new head of basketball operations, league sources tell Marc Stein of The New York Times (Twitter link).
33 thoughts on “Mavericks, Donnie Nelson Agree To Part Ways”
Rumor has clue
We have part way clue, trade clue and draft clue
He trades for Luka
Speculation or rumor
Vougaris and Nelson can’t get along
Luka and Nelson are friends
Cuban could get rid of Vougaris too because he creates internal tension
Insanity. Luka to GSW for Wiseman, both first rounders, Wiggins and a couple future 1sts, LFG
Get off the forum. You’re drunk. Lmao
If you they Luka it would take Curry or Thompson
Thompson + Wiseman + …. I still don’t think the Mavs entertain the idea
Depends. Lots of supposition, but none are beyond belief:
1. Doncic saw Donnie as his closetest contact in the organzation. Know him since he was 14. Donnie’s deep connections in Europe. Donnie personaly scouted him multiple times.
2. Doncic didn’t like Voulgaris. Per Tim Cato.
3. Cuban maybe rubs Doncic a bit the wrong way. God knows he would at least be in a substantial minority in that regard. Cuban being in the headlines all the time probably doesn’t help Doncic’s endorsement income.
4. Did Cuban have enough sense to really make sure Doncic was on board with this. Surely he did. Didn’t he??!! God I hope so, but it’s Cuban.
If Doncic is pissed, or disgruntled, he signs the extension and then starts campaigning for a trade. And then starts with the LeBron, Kawhi, Paul George, Kyrie, Hardin playbook. And my mone is on Doncic to be able to run it better than everybody on that list but LeBron.
Now you’re Cuban and his new GM standing there with their privates in their hands. And they’ve suddently got to salvage Doncic as a Mav or trade his ASAP before his value goes any further down.
The line to get him would be a mile long, but who other than GS has the assets to trade for him? Lakers cupboard is bare. Clippers is nearly bare. Knicks? I’ll go on after I pick myself up off the floor from laughing. Miami doesn’t have any deep supply real assets in terms of young or star players. And I think I just names every team that Luka would like to go to.
Ney God knows that not, esp regarding Cuban. He has flaws, his org. had flaws, yes I watch Sharktank. Not sure if this is an oops, or of Doncic’s role. Frankly it depends if they replace Hardaway.
It will be difficult for the Warriors to add a quality player and retain both of those guys. Oubre won’t fetch that much in a sign and trade, so all of the assets listed by Marty are their only bargaining chips.
I like that trade Marty, but give them Smiley too …
Go get Masai
That would be a great hire. Strong suggestion.
He’ll go work with his father in the family biz
Luka come to NY get away from all that drama in Dallas
And get with James Dolan and the Knicks? Has that line ever worked for any star players? Like ever?
Crazy times. Never would have guessed.
The weirdest thing for me was that time Don Nelson sued the Mavs for unpaid salary while Donnie Nelson was GM. That must have been fun at the holidays.
What is Cuban doing?
Is he trying to get Luka to leave?
I want more stories around the front office drama
Haralabos Voulgaris, he sounds like something out of Hogwarts ……… or a sleazy, European snuff director.
Anyhow, it’s very likely that he’s a direct cause for Donnie’s departure.
Let the Masai wars begin.
Masaï is more about developping nbdl talents when this League IS now mostly lead by europeans which IS clearly Donnie’ expertise
‘Snuff director’. LOL
Haralabos Voulgaris, Hogwarts professor of Defense Of Dark Arts Films
You really think Masai wants to work for an owner who vetoed his GM from drafting Gianis? And who keeps making stupid statements that piss free agents and potential free agests off?
Re: Cuban pissing off potential free agents, see this excellent article form Mavs Moneyball. It’s really a stunning list when you see it all in one place at one time.
link to mavsmoneyball.com
Great article. Thanks for sharing. Cuban is a smart man but his successes have led to an outsized ego and the idea that he always knows what he’s talking about and doing, when he doesn’t. He also doesn’t have a filter. All that’s obviously worked for him in life yet it also comes at a cost. Charles Barkley just said something that is so true: “When you do dumb stuff and it works, you keep doing dumb stuff.”
The writer in mavsmoneyball would define dumb as being anything that could be categorized as not in the best interests of blacks in general. I would call this more racial than wrong since politics is ruling over any consideration of truth or error. For instance did Lebron gain in BB IQ as he got older?— yes everyone does with experience.
It doesn’t matter how you try to spin it politically. Even a hypothetical bright bigot, as I doubt such a creature exists in nature, would find the comments tine deaf and incredibly stupid for an otherwise bright NBA owner.
But seriously, no in demand GM is going to,want to work for an owner that makes his job harder. I can’t see Masai coexisting with Cuban.
The latter is probably true, but the problem will be Voulgaris more than Cuban, if Cuban trusts him more than a nominal GM. I don’t expect most people, esp. blacks, think NBA owners are ever not racist!— Cuban just gabs more. I am more concerned with misogyny. Either way he may find “not interested”s… He got one from Nelson, maybe.
Remember when Cuban said that it was a big error to pass on Giannis when Donnie told him to do so … Luka IS gone !
I’m so glad someone else remembers that Donnie Nelson was all in on Giannis and it was Cubes who vetoed it.
I liked Haralabob as a personality, but his main claim to fame is understanding that in the early 2000s NBA scores typically were a little higher than originally predicated due to late game fouling. Clever, but has nothing to do with talent acquisition or development.
Thanks for clarifying Sebch.
Cuban was gunning for Dwight Howard & traded away the 13th pick that year.
But many execs passed on Giannis, who never had great skills…
Credit to Jason Kidd MIL for GA’s development… Also to Khris Middleton.
Kidd might fit better than Carlisle, just sayin’
Luka is not going anywhere. GMAFB
One of the most interesting questions is who is going to hire Donnie. Cletics, maybe? Hard to imainge he’ll be unemployed more than a few weeks.
He was instrumental in identifying Dirk and drafing Dirk; put together a NBA campionship team; drafted Luka; and tried to draft Gianis (but was overrulled by his owner).
What if Voulgaris turns out to be a regular Joe?— like, nice n’all? No, this should be part of a Big Texas story. It should have more fingerprints than on a door handle.
Cmon someone get the Doncic angle.