NBA News: Is Doncic pressuring the Mavs to upgrade at trade deadline?

Luka Doncic (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)
Luka Doncic (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images) /

The Mavericks are currently fifth in the Western Conference, but they are only three games above .500 despite Doncic’s MVP-caliber season. Those mediocre results have the team kicking the tires on potential deals. That’s all well and good, but the team hasn’t had the best track record when it comes to trades of late, and they could compound their mediocrity.

Because of that, most probably won’t blame Doncic for taking a more active role in the Mavs’ team building, which according to Tim MacMahon he is beginning to do, since they haven’t done a great job of it thus far.

"“Sources said Doncic, who hasn’t shown a desire to be involved in personnel matters in the past, has strongly indicated he wants the Mavericks to upgrade before the Feb. 9 trade deadline.” Tim MacMahon"

The Mavs have options but are limited in what they can do.

There’s still a lack of ball handling, forcing Doncic to be both an elite scorer and an elite playmaker. It’s a lot to ask, but the team has asked it of their best player. Thus far, their response has mainly been to take a flyer on Kemba Walker, who hasn’t been a good NBA player in years. Then there’s the fact that they let Jalen Brunson leave, only for him to blow up with the New York Knicks, helping carry their team back to prominence.

Additionally, the Mavericks’ salary dumped Kristaps Porzingis on the Washington Wizards, but he’s managed to regain his All-Star form in D.C. Neither move looks great, and Doncic taking more of an interest in the team’s roster-building can’t be a sign of confidence in the front office.

Unfortunately, the Mavericks have dug themselves into a corner with the deal that landed them Porzingis from the Knicks as well as the one that shipped him to Washington. The Mavericks don’t have that many assets, and they are stuck with Davis Bertans’ contract, limiting both trade and free-agent options.

There are still some small moves to be made, such as acquiring Derrick Rose and Cam Reddish from the New York Knicks and Nerlens Noel from the Pistons. Still, it seems like Doncic would want something more substantial than that, and if he doesn’t get his way, he could eventually force his way out of town, as Bill Simmons has speculated.

Next. Did the Mavs give up on Kristaps Porzingis way too soon?. dark

Overall, Doncic asserting more control over roster decisions can benefit the on-court product, but it can also be interpreted as a vote of no confidence in the team’s ability to build around him in the future. That could be a big problem going forward for the Mavericks.