The Dallas Mavericks’ incompetence may force Luka Doncic’s hand

Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)
Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images) /

The Dallas Mavericks’ playoff hopes hang in the balance after losing to the Charlotte Hornets for the second time in three days. The Hornets have the fourth-worst record in the NBA but managed to play spoiler for a team that only a few days ago seemed like a lock to make the playoffs.

The standings out west are razor thin, however, and two unexpected losses suddenly change everything. They are currently 11th in the standings and a full game behind the Oklahoma City Thunder, who also own the tiebreaker.

Meanwhile, they’re only half a game up on the Utah Jazz by virtue of playing one more game. With just seven games remaining, Dallas would have to win two games more than the Thunder to even make it into the play-in tournament.

In fact, five-thirty-eight gives the Mavericks only a 25% chance of making the playoffs. If they indeed miss the playoffs, then this offseason could be pivotal for Dallas.

The Mavericks missing the playoffs could result in Luka Doncic asking out.

Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic has been vocal about the team getting him more help this season. To the Mavericks’ credit, they did bring in all-star Kyrie Irving, but fit issues haven’t made them any better despite being more talented. Acquiring an All-Star and still missing the postseason would be a disaster for the Mavericks, who traded what little they had in assets to land Irving.

This is after the failed Kristaps Porzingis trade with the New York Knicks, then later trading him for a rotation player and a bad contract. He’s played well in Washington, as has former Maverick Jalen Brunson, whom they let leave for the Knicks in free agency.

Trading for Irving was a calculated gamble that could have erased those mistakes. Instead, they could have nothing to show for it. Irving is a free agent after this season and could seek a max contract which would be a 5-year deal worth $273 million.

The Mavericks could pay him this summer but opted not to sign him to an extension, suggesting that they were hesitant to do so. He doesn’t have many options either, possibly ensuring his return but perhaps not Doncic’s.

The Mavericks made the Western Conference Finals last year but could miss the playoffs this season—a major step back that could cause him to rethink things. Yes, he is under contract for three more seasons, but if he wants out, then he’ll likely eventually get his way.

Next. NBA standings based on 3-point shooting. dark

Even being in this position proves that Mark Cuban and GM Nico Harrison haven’t done the greatest of jobs building around a top-five player and coach Jason Kidd hasn’t maximized the roster’s talent either. The question is, will they have the opportunity to fix it?