Is Luka Doncic’s patience with the Dallas Mavericks fading fast?

Luka Doncic Dallas Mavericks (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Luka Doncic Dallas Mavericks (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /

Dallas Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic is currently second in the league in scoring and having an MVP-caliber season. This is despite a mediocre supporting cast that he’s dragging to a 500 record. That lack of help and the team’s overall success since acquiring Doncic underscore how valuable he is to the franchise, but it could also cause him to eventually leave Dallas.

ESPN’s Tim MacMahon recently said as much on the Hoop Collective Podcast.

"“I think they have a two-year window. This season and next season going into that [2024] summer. I think they have a two-year window where, you know, like Milwaukee did with Giannis, I think in that window they really need to convince Luka that he has a chance to contend year in and year out right here in Dallas,” MacMahon said."

While his comments were only speculation, McMahon is around the team and Doncic often enough to get a feel for the situation. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski also expressed a similar sentiment surrounding Doncic and his future with the team. As Woj points out, the Mavericks have limited options to improve the team, which likely limits their ceiling.

"“They’re limited in the assets they have in Dallas to do something significant.” “You look at the team building in Dallas and listen, a player like Luka Doncic, the clock is always running for an organization. If all of a sudden you end up in the play-in this year, you lose in the first round next year and you get deeper in his contract and you don’t have a supporting cast, you worry about keeping that player. So all of those things are in play for Dallas right now,”  Adrian Wojnarowski said."

The Dallas Mavericks have limited options and time to convince Luka Doncic to stay.

The Mavericks appear desperate to try and find help for Doncic, even resorted to signing Kemba Walker, a former four-time all-star, in the hopes that he can provide a spark. That said, he has yet to suit up, and his recent injury history makes it doubtful that he’ll have a big impact when he eventually does. They are also rumored to be interested in trading for Knicks guard Derrick Rose, who’s fallen out of the rotation in New York.

While he could potentially help Dallas, especially by providing them with another ball handler, adding Rose is probably not enough to move the needle. Low-risk, medium-reward moves probably aren’t enough to turn the Mavericks into title contenders. Also, if Doncic is out for an extended period of time due to an injury, his team could look as bad as fellow Texas teams the San Antonio Spurs and Houston Rockets.

All this is to say that the Mavericks have to do a much better job of building around Doncic than they’ve done thus far, or else risk him demanding a trade. Think that won’t happen? Both the Rockets and Spurs lost superstars in the exact same way in the last five years. While Doncic is not the same as James Harden or Kawhi Leonard, Dallas lucked out by having Dirk Nowitzki for 21 seasons, only to strike gold again with another generational talent.

The Dallas Mavericks are squandering their chances with an elite player.

Owner Mark Cuban failed to build a winning team around Nowitzki in his final eight seasons in the NBA, and he’s not doing a particularly good job of it now. Remember, they gave up a ton of assets to land All-Star Kristaps Porzingis, then traded him for rotation players. Now, Porzingis looks like a star again in Washington.

The aftermath of that fiasco is still evident. There is a wide gap between Doncic and the second-best player on the roster, especially after they let Jalen Brunson leave, and they are paying Davis Bertans at least $16 million a season for the next couple of years despite him only playing 7.5 minutes a game thus far this season.

Bad move after bad move is why the Mavericks are in their current situation, and continuing this trend could eventually sour Doncic on his team’s ability to build around him and cause him to demand a trade.

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Overall, despite Doncic being under contract until 2026–2027, MacMahon and Woj both seem to believe that the Dallas Mavericks have even less time to try and convince him that they can be a contender. That puts plenty of pressure on the Mavericks, and other teams will surely be monitoring the situation closely, waiting to see if Doncic will try and force his way out if he becomes disgruntled.