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Ex-Mavs Exec Haralabos Voulgaris Rips Team Culture: 'It Was a Very Gossipy Workplace'

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVOctober 21, 2021

Michael Nagle/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Former Dallas Mavericks official Haralabos Voulgaris criticized what he called "high school drama" within the organization during his time there.

Voulgaris, who was the team's director of quantitative research and development, told Pablo Torre on the ESPN Daily podcast (via ESPN's Tim MacMahon) he was content to sit back and focus on his job "until it became clear that the guy in charge didn't want me around":

"But when it became personal, like then the competitive part of me started to kind of kick in. Like, 'Oh, this guy wants me out of here.' It never became obvious that he wanted me out of there. You can just read between the lines a little bit. You can kind of see. Just to be very clear, the first two years or whatever, Donnie [Nelson] was very pleasant around me when I was there. It's just, you hear certain things, you learn certain things, you're told certain things. It was a very gossipy workplace, very gossipy. It was like a sewing circle over there."

Voulgaris and the Mavericks moved on from one another in September, which continued a wider shakeup behind the scenes for the team. Dallas fired president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson, and head coach Rick Carlisle left after spending 13 seasons on the sideline.

The Athletic's Tim Cato and Sam Amick lifted the lid on the Mavs' palace intrigue in June, and Voulgaris was a central figure. The 46-year-old was described as a "shadow GM" and "the most influential voice within the Mavericks front office since joining the team."

Beyond influencing transactions, Cato and Amick reported Voulgaris went so far as to script Carlisle's starting lineups and rotations.

Mavs team governor Mark Cuban responded in the piece by saying Voulgaris "does a great job of supporting Rick and the front office with unique data insights" and "isn’t any more influential than any other data source on the team."

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Cuban was more blunt on social media:

Mark Cuban @mcuban

Total bullshit <a href="https://t.co/vBpYcZTTkI">https://t.co/vBpYcZTTkI</a>

Mark Cuban @mcuban

💯💯💯which is why the writer didn’t reach out to me till just before the opinion piece was published. And I never spoke to him till after it was posted i conveyed the facts to him then <a href="https://t.co/56lMBelEGV">https://t.co/56lMBelEGV</a>

However, the subsequent departures of Nelson and Carlisle seemed to confirm the trouble behind the scenes in Dallas.

As they prepare for their season opener Thursday night against the Atlanta Hawks, the Mavs have a new head coach (Jason Kidd) and a new voice in charge of basketball decisions (general manager Nico Harrison).

Perhaps the franchise has left the drama behind as well.

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