- The Mavs fired longtime GM Donnie Nelson, and head coach Rick Carlisle resigned within 24 hours.
- The moves come on the heels of a report of strife within the Mavs over Haralabos Voulgaris.
- Luka Doncic was reportedly upset by Nelson’s firing.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
In the days since The Athletic published a report about internal strife within the Dallas Mavericks front office, the organization has seemingly imploded.
On Wednesday, longtime General Manager Donnie Nelson and the Mavs decided to part ways. Nelson had held the job since 2005. The Athletic later reported that the Mavs had fired Nelson on Sunday.
On Thursday, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that head coach Rick Carlisle was leaving the team after 13 years.
The bombshell moves come on the heels of The Athletic’s Sam Amick and Tim Cato reporting on Monday that former gambler-turned-executive Haralabos Voulgaris had gained influential power within the Mavs.
Voulgaris, whose official title is director of quantitative research and development, rose to fame after making millions gambling on the NBA, developing models that gave him an edge. He reportedly consulted for an unnamed NBA franchise in 2009 and later became a popular figure on Twitter and podcasts for his NBA commentary. The Mavs hired him in 2018.
The Athletic reported that Voulgaris, who is close with owner Mark Cuban, has had a say in everything from roster decisions to Carlisle’s rotations and acts as a sort of shadow GM. As a result, opposing teams were reportedly confused over who was making decisions in the Mavs’ front office.
According to The Athletic, Voulgaris also irritated franchise star Luka Doncic. Doncic reportedly once snapped at Voulgaris in the middle of a game after Voulgaris motioned for him to calm down.
According to The Athletic, Voulgaris’ contract is also up this offseason, and his future with the team is uncertain.
All eyes are now on Luka Doncic and the Mavs offseason
According to multiple reports, Doncic was close with Nelson, who played a key role in the Mavs moving up to select Doncic in the 2018 draft.
Doncic on Thursday told reporters that it was “tough” to see Nelson go.
“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 said via Marc Stein of The New York Times.
Doncic and Carlisle were not as close, however, and there had been tension between the two, according to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon.
Doncic — who is eligible for a five-year, $200 million extension this summer and reportedly plans to sign it — figures to play a role in selecting the next head coach.
Both a new GM and new head coach will step into a high-pressure situation in Dallas. The Mavs are at a critical juncture.
Doncic has proven to be a talent capable of leading a team in the playoffs, but they have lost in the first round in consecutive years.
The supporting cast around Doncic needs work. Star big man Kristaps Porzingis has failed to live up to expectations and may be on the trading block this offseason.
Tim Hardaway Jr., a key wing for Dallas, is a free agent and likely to command a salary worth $10 million-plus per year. Losing him would hurt Dallas, but re-signing him at a high figure also risks locking the team into an average roster for the foreseeable future.
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