Luka Doncic, the Slovenian wunderkind, signed a super-max contract with the Dallas Mavericks worth $207 million over five years. The new contract extension begins next season and will keep Doncic with the Mavs until 2027.
Doncic finished in fifth place in MVP voting last season after finishing the year averaging 27.7 points, 8.6 assists, and 8.0 rebounds per game. He shot 47.9% from the floor and knocked down 35% of his 3-pointers. Doncic tallied 11 triple-doubles last season and has 36 for his career.
“Today is a dream come true,” said Doncic. “The game of basketball has given me so much and has taken me to so many amazing places. I am humbled and excited to remain in Dallas as part of the Mavericks. I’m committed to the organization and appreciate the support of my fans.”
Doncic almost led a team of relative unknowns to a bronze medal for Slovenia at the Tokyo Olympics, but Slovenia lost to Australia. Sure, Slovenia bubbled the medal podium, but fourth place was impressive considering Doncic was a one-man show.
After returning home to Slovenia from Japan, Doncic signed the $207 million contract extension with the Mavs.
The journey has been one for the history books, yet it’s just the beginning.
— Dallas Mavericks (@dallasmavs) August 10, 2021
Shakeup in Dallas
For the second consecutive season, the Mavs were knocked out of the postseason in the opening round by the LA Clippers.
After the Mavs were eliminated in seven games, word leaked out that the team was embroiled in internal controversy due to a power struggle between the old guard and the new guard. The old guard, which included head coach Rick Carlisle and general manager Donnie Walsh, won a title with the Mavs a decade ago.
In the age of analytics and data deep dives, the new guard — led by analytics guru Haralabos Voulgaris — clashed with the old guard. With team owner Mark Cuban tantalized by data and metrics, Voulgaris emerged as the shadow GM who clashed with the coaching staff and players, including Doncic. As a result, Carlisle and Walsh both stepped aside in the offseason. The Mavs hired ex-star Jason Kidd as their next head coach in hopes the former point guard can relate to Doncic on a personal level.
It’s still unknown if Voulgaris and Doncic patched things up, but after Cuban cut a $207 million check, it’s safe to say they’re simpatico … for now.
With Doncic locked in through 2027, it’s time for the Mavs to build a real team around him. That means the Mavs will have to figure out what to do with the injury-prone Unicorn. Will the Mavs cut their losses and trade Kristaps Porzingis, or will they gamble that he remains healthy?
Doncic: Global Star
From the first couple of weeks of his rookie campaign with the Mavs, Doncic dazzled the NBA community. European prospects are a wildcard, especially teenagers who have yet to develop. Doncic exceeded early expectations and won the 2019 NBA Rookie of the Year. He proved his rookie season was no fluke with a strong sophomore campaign that got him named to the All-NBA Team.
Doncic started playing pro ball in Spain as a teenager, which is why he speaks fluent Spanish that might be better than his English. As a multilinguist, Doncic also speaks Slovenian and a little Serbian and Italian. With the NBA trying to put their imprint on the global marketplace, Doncic is their perfect pitchman as a youthful and energetic highlight machine.
Doncic was drafted with the #3 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft and acquired in a draft-day trade with the Atlanta Hawks in exchange for Trae Young. Right now, two of the top players in the NBA — Doncic and Giannis ‘Greek Freak’ Antetokounmpo — weren’t born on US soil. Antetokounmpo won a title with the Milwaukee Bucks last month and he’s the reigning NBA Finals MVP.
So, how much longer will it be before Doncic and the Mavs win a title? According to the most recent update by the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas, the Mavs are +2800 odds to win the 2022 NBA championship and are 10th on the NBA futures board.