Within a larger feature about the career paths of 2018 lottery picks Luka Doncic and Trae Young, ESPN’s Tim MacMahon cites sources who say Doncic has “strongly indicated” that he wants the Mavericks to upgrade their roster ahead of the Feb. 9 trade deadline.
However, Mavs owner Mark Cuban denies that’s the case.
“Tim MacMahon got it dead wrong. Luka has never suggested, asked, demanded or discussed changes to the roster,” Cuban said in a statement, via MacMahon. “Luka and (president of basketball operations) Nico (Harrison) have a great relationship. They talk almost daily. Luka knows exactly what we have going on and is very supportive.”
Doncic has been carrying a significant load in Dallas this season. He has a career-high 38.2% usage rate and leads the NBA with 33.8 points per game.
Christian Wood has emerged as a consistent second scorer, and role players like Spencer Dinwiddie and Tim Hardaway Jr. are having solid seasons. However, the team has missed last season’s second-leading scorer, Jalen Brunson, and could use more reinforcements to make a real run at a title.
Still, while reports in the past have indicated that the Mavs front office keeps Doncic apprised of potential roster moves, he hasn’t yet exhibited a strong desire to be involved in those decisions, as MacMahon notes. He also stated during the preseason that he didn’t believe Dallas needed another All-Star-caliber player to be a contender, telling Malika Andrews that “we have a great team.”
Perhaps Doncic’s workload this season and the team’s up-and-down first half has prompted him to be proactive in conveying his desire for roster upgrades, but if Cuban is to be believed, the All-NBA guard isn’t pushing for changes.
Although Doncic has three more guaranteed years on his contract left after this one, the Mavs are likely still feeling a sense of urgency to build a strong roster around him, since we’ve seen star players request trades with multiple seasons left on their contracts in recent years. There’s no indication that Doncic has considered or will consider taking that route, but it will be a subplot to keep in mind if Dallas is unable to make another deep postseason run in the next year or two.
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