NBA Trades #3: Luka Doncic
Luka Doncic is only 24 years old. He is not even in his prime yet but has already put himself in the MVP conversation. The Mavericks should be doing everything in their power to put him in the right situation to compete for a title every year. Instead, they gutted their depth and defense to acquire Kyrie Irving at the trade deadline and tanked out of the play-in tournament just one season after making the Western Conference Finals in 2022.
Doncic was not pleased with the tanking and rightfully so. He wants to compete at the highest level, which is where a player of his talent belongs, and if the Mavericks put together another disappointing season it is not unlikely that he will look at other places to do so. It is also not unlikely that the Mavericks will have another wasted year.
They gave up so much for Irving but couldn’t figure out the backcourt fit or guard anyone. The former might just work itself out with time, but time is running out for the Mavericks, and they didn’t even address all their defensive issues yet. Grant Williams is a strong defender. He is not enough to fix everything the Mavericks need to be fixed on that end of the floor, however.
If this team does not find success, it will be incredibly difficult to retool around Doncic because most of their assets are already gone and even Irving might not get them any win-now players on the trade market. At that point, it might just be time to decide that Dallas cannot build a title contender around Doncic and that he better demand a trade to try his luck somewhere else.