Draft Lottery Could Decide Luka Doncic’s Future After Disappointing Mavs Season

Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks.

Getty Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks.

The Dallas Mavericks’ run to the Western Conference finals last season now seems like a distant memory.

A year later, they are in danger of missing the postseason, an embarrassing way to end the season after trading for Kyrie Irving in February. And it could prompt star Luka Doncic to seek a trade amid the team’s downward spiral, according to Bleacher Report’s Andy Bailey.

“Discontent often leads to players asking out,” Bailey wrote in an article on March 30. “And the Mavericks missing the playoffs might feel like another link in a chain of events that would test most stars’ patience … If all those dominos fell, Luka asking for a trade wouldn’t be shocking. And if he did, suitors all over the NBA would line up in a heartbeat.”

Bailey pitched several possible landing spots for Doncic, but the most intriguing scenario is the one that isn’t set in stone just yet. Whichever team lands the No. 1 draft pick could have quite the package to entice the Mavs to trade Doncic, Bailey wrote.

“As far as pre-draft hype goes, Victor Wembanyama’s is up there with LeBron James. … If he develops into some kind of Kevin Durant-Rudy Gobert hybrid (lofty, to be sure, but it might be in play), Wembanyama could be a transformational player,” Bailey wrote. “But nothing is guaranteed with draft prospects. And if Doncic really does hit the market, whatever team lands the No. 1 pick will almost certainly be tempted to include it in a package for Luka.”

With just five games remaining in the regular season, the Mavericks are running out of time to right the ship. Dallas currently sits in 11th place in the Western Conference, one game behind the Oklahoma City Thunder for the final Play-In Tournament spot.

Mavs Urged to Tank After Embarrassing Second-Half

The team that winds up with the No. 1 overall pick could very well be the Mavericks. They’ve been seemingly doing everything possible to ruin their postseason chances and could benefit from tanking.

The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor suggested that they do just that.

“Missing the playoffs and keeping their 2023 first[-round pick], no matter where it lands, is probably the best path forward for the Mavericks,” he wrote in a story published March 27.

O’Connor then explained that both the franchise and the franchise player could use a season-ending shutdown, highlighting Doncic’s clear fatigue after a year of nonstop basketball.

“The truth is, a long break could benefit both the Mavs and Doncic. The guy’s been running nonstop: a playoff run last year, playing for the Slovenian squad in August, EuroBasket in September, and then diving headfirst into Mavs training camp and the season, during which he’s possessed the ball for more minutes than anyone in the league,” O’Connor wrote. “He’s clearly running on fumes. Sadly, so are the Mavs’ title hopes, thanks to their heinous defense, a lack of depth, and Jason Kidd as their head coach.

“Dallas might’ve made the West finals just a year ago, but now the team has been surpassed by a number of Western contenders. To make matters worse, Irving could walk out the door as an unrestricted free agent this summer. But even if he stays, he’s got a track record of burning bridges with his previous franchises. What makes Dallas think it’ll be the exception? Especially after this kind of start? With limited ways to bolster the roster, it’s crucial that this year’s pick turns into a real asset. If it moves into the top four, it could be the lifeline the Mavericks need, whether they keep a prized prospect or flip him in a bigger deal.”

Mavs’ Luka Doncic Says He’s Not Having Fun Anymore

Doncic mentioned in a March 24 press conference about how he hasn’t been having fun on the basketball court as of late.

“It’s really frustrating,” Doncic told reporters. “I think you can see it with me on the court. Sometimes, I don’t feel it’s me. Just being out there. I used to have [a lot of] fun. Smiling on the court. But it’s just been so frustrating. For a lot of reasons, not just basketball.”

Luka Doncic Acknowledges Having The "Most Frustrating" Season He's Had With Dallas MavericksWatch as Luka Doncic Acknowledges Having The "Most Frustrating" Season He's Had With Dallas Mavericks (Post-Game, Dallas Mavs vs. Charlotte Hornets) Don’t forget to Subscribe to Fanatics View on YouTube for more exclusive sports content: youtube.com/channel/UCy31smm3GNCgbSgYm9hb41Q?sub_confirmation=1 youtube.com/fanaticsvieworiginals #LukaDoncic #DallasMavs #KyrieIrving Fanatics View’s other sports channels can be subscribed to here as well Basketball Channel: youtube.com/channel/UChYA8XpBfYwSIDGp6p70Wag…2023-03-25T04:14:11Z
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