The early end to the Mavericks‘ season after failing to reach the play-in tournament had nothing to do with Luka Doncic‘s decision to participate in the World Cup, writes Johnny Askounis of Eurohoops. Speaking to reporters after dropping 37 points in a victory over Venezuela, Doncic said he wants to represent Slovenia whenever possible.
“There is no difference,” he said. “Every time I can play for the national team, I will play. Representing your country, you are always motivated, no matter what happens in the season. Obviously, it was disappointing that we could not make the playoffs, but playing for your country is special. It is from the heart. And representing your country, it is amazing.”
One of the benefits of being in the tournament for Doncic is a chance to play against Edy Tavares of Cape Verde, whom Slovenia will face on Wednesday. They were teammates with Real Madrid, and the 31-year-old center captured MVP honors at the EuroLeague Final Four in May.
“It is going to be special to play against him,” Doncic said. “I never played against him. It is going to be very tough.”
There’s more from the Southwest Division:
- Doncic recently signed a contract extension with Jordan Brand, Marc Stein reveals in his latest Substack article. Sources tell Stein that the deal will continue Doncic’s relationship with the company through 2029. The Mavericks star debuted his second signature shoe, the Luka 2 Matador, in a recent exhibition game. Doncic will continue to have significant input into how the shoes are designed and marketed, according to Stein.
- Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram is the newest Jordan Brand client, per Christian Clark of NOLA. The company announced Saturday that it has signed Ingram to a multi-year footwear and apparel contract. “Signing with Jordan Brand is a game-changer,” Ingram said. “A life-changer, and now that it is a reality, I can’t wait to do special things together on and off the court.” Clark notes that Ingram was previously affiliated with Adidas, but he didn’t have a shoe contract the past two seasons.
- Cam Whitmore narrates a behind-the-scenes video about the Rockets‘ Summer League team, according to Ben DuBose of Rockets Wire. The rookie forward surprisingly slipped to 20th in the NBA draft, but he bounced back by earning MVP honors in Las Vegas. “It felt like that it was meant to be,” Whitmore said in the video. “There was a reason I dropped to 20. Now I’m the Summer League MVP. I knew it wasn’t for nothing. All the work is paying off.”