Longtime Dallas Mavericks president of basketball operations and general manager Donnie Nelson is no longer with the franchise after 24 years, and star Luka Doncic reportedly isn't happy about the move.
Appearing on ESPN's The Jump on Wednesday (48-second mark), Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated said Doncic is "really upset" and is expected to make a statement about the firing on Thursday.
Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News provided some clarification to the situation:
Nelson, who was assistant general manager and assistant coach before he became president of basketball operations, was "widely credited" with the draft-day deal that brought Doncic to Dallas in 2018, according to ESPN's Tim MacMahon.
Nelson also drafted Dirk Nowitzki in 1998.
MacMahon acknowledged the decision came amid "internal friction" related to the power that Mavericks director of quantitative research and development Haralabos Voulgaris holds within the organization, and the move comes days after Tim Cato and Sam Amick of The Athletic reported that the former professional gambler is considered "the most influential voice within the Mavericks front office."
The Athletic report noted Doncic wasn't a fan of Voulgaris and referenced a February incident, when the 22-year-old "snapped" at the exec after he interpreted a mid-game hand gesture as criticism. In April, he reportedly told teammates that Voulgaris was "quitting on them" after he left an eventual loss to the New York Knicks early.
Governor Mark Cuban responded to that report on Twitter and in speaking to Bleacher Report's Taylor Rooks:
Taylor Rooks @TaylorRooks
Just spoke to Mark Cuban about the recent reports:<br><br>“I pay close attention to what Luka says, what the front office, analytics group and our scouts say. What Rick says. The idea that there is a shadow GM is laughable. The idea that anyone but Rick sets rotations is insulting”
But based on the latest update, it seems that this could be deeper than just Doncic's displeasure with a certain someone in the front office. And that could be dangerous for Dallas, since the Slovenian star can sign a supermax extension this summer after being named an All-NBA first-teamer.
And with the latest update, Spears said those contract talks aren't ongoing right now.