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Report: Mavericks, GM Donnie Nelson Part Ways After Rumored Front-Office Tension

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVJune 16, 2021

Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images

Wednesday's NBA news just keeps coming.

The latest bombshell comes out of Dallas as the Mavericks and longtime general manager Donnie Nelson are going their separate ways:

Mavs PR @MavsPR

The Dallas Mavericks and Donnie Nelson have mutually agreed to part ways. pic.twitter.com/YRg8pF15oG

Marc Stein of the New York Times and ESPN's Tim MacMahon reported more details of the change:

Marc Stein @TheSteinLine

The Mavericks have hired a search firm and have opened the search for a new head of basketball operations, league sources say.

Tim MacMahon @espn_macmahon

Source confirms that longtime president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson is parting ways with the Mavs, as reported by The Athletic. <br><br>Nelson had lost power since the hiring of Bob Voulgaris, creating internal tension.

Tim MacMahon @espn_macmahon

The decision for Donnie Nelson to leave the Mavericks was made Sunday, sources told ESPN.

On Monday, Tim Cato and Sam Amick of The Athletic reported the Mavericks' director of quantitative research and development, Haralabos Voulgaris, "has been the most influential voice within the Mavericks front office since joining the team, either initiating or approving virtually every transaction made over the past two seasons."

"We had two general managers," a team source said.

Perhaps more importantly, Voulgaris and superstar Luka Doncic reportedly have a strained relationship. Cato and Amick wrote: "Internally, there are concerns the front office’s dysfunction has hurt its ability to [build a winning roster around Doncic]—and that poor relationships Doncic has with key members of the franchise, including Voulgaris, could impact his current desire to remain in Dallas long-term."

The team's governor, Mark Cuban, called The Athletic's report "Total bulls--t" on Twitter. Yet Nelson's long and successful tenure in Dallas came to a close in the same week as a report about Voulgaris' influence within the organization.

Everything in Dallas revolves around Doncic. He will assuredly sign a supermax extension with the Mavericks this summer:

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Tim MacMahon @espn_macmahon

Luka Doncic smiles widely when asked if he plans to sign a supermax extension this summer: “I think you know the answer.”

But building a contender around him may be the key to keeping him in Dallas for the duration of his career and making him the organization's next Dirk Nowitzki-like figure. 

The next head of basketball operations will be tasked with building that winning roster after first-round exits in the last two postseasons. Nelson drafted Doncic and helped bring a title to Dallas in the Nowitzki years, but after 24 seasons, his watch has ended.

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