Mavericks' Mark Cuban Says Star Players Want to Play with Luka Doncic 'A Lot'

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistApril 29, 2021

Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic dribbles the ball during the second half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Golden State Warriors in San Francisco, Tuesday, April 27, 2021. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

The Mavericks haven't had much success luring major free agents to Dallas, but governor Mark Cuban believes that will change with Luka Doncic leading the franchise.

Cuban told Tim Cato of The Athletic that players have expressed a desire to play with Doncic in the future. 

"From what I’m hearing from them, a lot," Cuban said when asked how much opposing players want to play with Doncic.

The Mavericks have staked their future on building around Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis, though the latter has yet to recapture his All-Star form since suffering a torn ACL in 2018. Cuban said the team is committed to doing "whatever we need" to surround Doncic and Porzingis with players who accentuate their talents.

Despite having a reputation as perhaps the NBA's most player-friendly franchise, the Mavericks have continually struck out in landing major free agents. From LeBron James to Carmelo Anthony to Dwight Howard to the infamous DeAndre Jordan debacle, Cuban tried time and again for the better part of a half-decade to land stars via free agency before shifting focus to build around Doncic.

The Mavs traded for Porzingis in January 2019, hoping he could return from his ACL injury and give Dallas an elite two-star combo. While Doncic has emerged as a perennial MVP candidate, the Mavs will likely need a third star to supplant Porzingis as second in command to contend for a championship.

Acquiring said star will likely need to happen this summer with Doncic due a maximum contract extension that will kick in for the 2022-23 season. With Doncic and Porzingis on the books at max contracts, the Mavs likely wouldn't have the flexibility to add a third star on the open market and they lack promising young players necessary to acquire one via trade.