The Dallas Mavericks have done a solid job adding key components to their roster before the start of training camp this fall. They added another star in Grant Williams and, most importantly, secured the future of All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving.
Now, the next priority is the future of their franchise star, Luka Doncic, who can become a restricted free agent in 2026, the same year that Irving’s current deal expires. He can also opt into the final year of that deal and become an unrestricted free agent the following summer. ESPN NBA insider Bobby Marks believes that on Doncic’s next contract, he could become the first NBA player to make $80 million per year.
“Luka’s gonna be probably the first 80-million-dollar guy,” Marks said to NBA insider Zach Lowe during an appearance on “The Lowe Post “ podcast.
Analyst Gives Jayson Tatum Nod Over Luka Doncic
Doncic is one of the top players today. In the group of players who are deemed up next, he is among the cream of the crop. In the five NBA seasons he has played, he has been named an NBA All-Star four times and selected All-NBA four times. He could very well be the guy that spearheads the next generation of NBA stars once the likes of LeBron James, Steph Curry, and Kevin Durant hang up their jerseys.
However, pertaining to who is the best young star in the NBA today, analyst Stephen A. Smith is giving the nod to Boston Celtics star guard Jayson Tatum.
“A lot of people say, Luka, I’m going to say Jayson Tatum. He’s 6-9 and can shoot the three. I saw Tatum drop 46 in a closeout playoff Game 6 in Milwaukee. I saw him handle his business in Game 7. I’ve seen a young Tatum, who ain’t even 27 years of age yet, be a primary option on a team that’s going to five conference championship series and an NBA Finals,” Smith said to NFL Hall of Famer, Shannon Sharpe on the “Club Shay Shay” podcast.
“I just look at him. We talk about conditioning. There have been times when we’ve looked at Luka and we’ve said, ‘He ain’t in shape, he’s getting in shape as the season progresses.’ We look at Tatum from day one and say, ‘He’s in shape.’ That matters to me.”
Christian Wood Signs With Lakers
There was a lot of speculation on where former Mavericks big man Christian Wood would land after the franchise elected not to bring him back as an unrestricted free agent. Despite having a solid season in 2023, averaging 16.6 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 1.8 assists in 67 games, Wood remained unsigned in the latter days of the free agency period as most teams have pivoted their focus to the start of training camp.
But Wood landed on his feet on September 5 as he signed a two-year deal to join the Los Angeles Lakers, per ESPN insider Adrian Wojnarowski.
“Free agent F/C Christian Wood has agreed on a two-year deal with the Los Angeles Lakers, sources tell ESPN,” Wojnarowski tweeted on September 5. “Deal includes a player option.”