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Mavericks Rumors: Michael Finley A Candidate to Replace Donnie Nelson as GM

Jenna CiccotelliCorrespondent IIJune 17, 2021

AP Photo/Andy Manis

The Dallas Mavericks are looking for a new general manager after parting ways with Donnie Nelson, and a former player is among the candidates, according to Marc Stein of the New York Times.

Stein reported that Michael Finley, who earned two All-Star selections during his nine seasons in Dallas (1996-2005), has "immediately emerged" as a potential replacement. Finley is currently the team's vice president of basketball operations. 

The team on Wednesday announced Nelson's departure after 24 seasons with the franchise.

Dallas hired the firm Sportsology to help lead the search for Nelson's replacement, which will include external candidates in addition to Finley, Stein added.

The news that the Mavericks are willing to elevate someone in their front office comes amid what ESPN's Tim MacMahon referred to as "internal friction" related to director of quantitative research and development Haralabos Voulgaris, a former professional gambler who was hired by the Mavericks in 2018. 

Voulgaris worked directly with governor Mark Cuban and head coach Rick Carlisle, much to the chagrin of Nelson, according to MacMahon. 

Nelson reportedly wasn't the only one within the organization who was frustrated by Voulgaris. Tim Cato and Sam Amick of The Athletic reported that star Luka Doncic didn't get along with Voulgaris, referencing an incident in February where the 22-year-old "snapped" at him. Doncic also told teammates that the executive was "quitting on them" after he left an eventual loss to the New York Knicks early in April, per the report.

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Cuban called the report "laughable" and "insulting" in speaking to Bleacher Report's Taylor Rooks, after he took to Twitter to respond publicly: 

Mark Cuban @mcuban

Total bullshit https://t.co/vBpYcZTTkI

Doncic reportedly isn't happy with the latest change in the front office, either. Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated said in an appearance on The Jump on Wednesday that Doncic was "really upset" about the loss of Nelson, who engineered the draft-day deal to land him back in 2018. 

Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News said that was more an assumption rather than a conclusion: 

Brad Townsend @townbrad

Doncic is in fact expected to speak about Nelson's departure tomorrow during an availability with reporters in Slovenia as he and Team Slovenia prepare for an Olympic qualifying tournament. But to say Doncic is upset with the Mavericks right now is not accurate.

The Slovenian star is eligible to sign a supermax extension after he was named to the All-NBA First Team, but Spears said "there's no talks right now" about the deal, which means that the Mavericks' troubles could stretch out of the front office and on to the court. 

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