In an attempt to ward off trade speculation, Luka Doncic told reporters on Sunday that he’s happy in Dallas, but his demeanor at the podium suggested otherwise, writes Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News. Doncic was clearly disturbed by the Mavericks‘ late-season collapse that resulted in an early vacation, and he wasn’t on board with the choice to rest rotation players on Friday while there was still a chance to make the play-in tournament.
“I didn’t like that decision,” he said. “That’s it.”
Doncic also said, “Something’s got to change,” but refused to elaborate on specifics, adding, “I don’t want to talk to the media about it.”
Teams around the league are monitoring Doncic’s situation, but he doesn’t have much leverage to push for a trade even if he decides he wants out of Dallas, according to Sean Deveney of Heavy. The maximum extension that Doncic signed in 2021 will keep him under contract through the 2026/27 season.
“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,” a Western Conference executive told Deveney. “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.”
There’s more from Dallas:
- Kyrie Irving didn’t address the media after Sunday’s game, but coach Jason Kidd indicated that Irving has enjoyed his time with the Mavericks and will be open to re-signing in free agency, Townsend adds. “I think he’s excited to be here,” Kidd said. “He’s excited to work with Luka. He believes that we have a chance to win. And so this is a big summer, not just for us as Mavs, but for Kai. Everything we’ve done is to show that this is a great city, a great organization. And now it’s time to continue to build that process of winning the championship.”
- Free agent big man Christian Wood seems unlikely to return, Marc Stein writes in his latest Subtack article. Stein notes that there was talk of an extension for Wood before the Irving trade, but now it doesn’t appear that Dallas will try to re-sign him. Stein adds that JaVale McGee and Tim Hardaway Jr. also have uncertain futures, but their contracts won’t make them easy to move.
- David Aldridge of The Athletic questions the wisdom of the NBA’s investigation of the Mavericks for resting healthy players, claiming it’s no different than what numerous other teams have done.