Luka Doncic reportedly plans to sign a five-year supermax contract with the Dallas Mavericks despite his displeasure over the departure of general manager Donnie Nelson and reported friction with front-office member Haralabos Voulgaris.
Tim Cato and Sam Amick of The Athletic reported nothing has changed from Doncic's perspective regarding his long-term future with the franchise. Doncic said he planned to sign the supermax contract, which will be worth upwards of $200 million, following the Mavericks' first-round loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.
While it seemed like an obvious choice at the time, reports of internal friction led to some speculation his future in Dallas might not be so secure. Doncic said Thursday he was not happy about Nelson's departure.
"It was kind of tough to me. I really like Donnie. I know him since I was a kid and he was the one that drafted me. It was tough for me seeing that, but I'm not the one making decisions there," Doncic told reporters.
The Athletic reported Walsh was fired Sunday, though the team characterized it as a mutual parting. Walsh spent 24 seasons with the Mavericks organization.
The idea that any tension between Doncic and the Mavericks would lead to a departure was always farfetched. Doncic's options are limited, given he's under contract through next season and would have to accept a qualifying offer of $13.4 million for 2022-23 in order to test unrestricted free agency in 2023.
Even in the age of player empowerment, no superstar has turned down supermax-level money in order to force themselves into a new situation. Doncic would have to be unhappy enough to turn down $186.6 million in additional guaranteed cash.
Leverage for players starts to kick in around the Year 6 or 7 mark, when they've signed the second contract but also see free agency off in the not-to-distant future. If the Mavs still haven't built a winner around Doncic once he's in his mid-20s, then it's probably time to start worrying about him angling for a new home.
We have enough evidence in the modern NBA that there's an expected pattern of behavior here. The Mavs have time to right the ship, just not as much as they'd prefer.