Mavericks’ Tanking Decision ‘Agitated’ Kyrie Irving and Luka Doncic: Report

Mark Cuban, Luka Doncic, and Kyrie Irving of the Dallas Mavericks.

Getty Mark Cuban, Luka Doncic, and Kyrie Irving of the Dallas Mavericks.

It’s no secret that the Dallas Mavericks tanked in their final two games this season, in an effort to increase their chances of keeping their first-round pick. Had Dallas made the playoffs, the selection would’ve gone to the New York Knicks as part of the Kristaps Porzingis trade.

Apparaently, the team wanted the tanking to start in late march, but Mavs stars Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving weren’t having it, according to “The Ringer’s” Kevin O’Connor.

“The tanking was actually supposed to begin sooner,” O’Connor said via FanDuel TV. “My sources say that in late March, Dallas coaches met with players to discuss a plan for Markieff Morris and JaVale McGee to play heavier minutes. That is when the tanking was supposed to begin but Luka and especially Kyrie were agitated that the team was waving the white flag and both refused to sit.”

Mavs Fined $750,000 for Tanking Against Bulls

Despite the wishes of their star duo, Dallas decided to tank anyway, just a bit later than originally planned. Again, the Mavericks punted their final two regular-season games, including their April 7 meeting with the Chicago Bulls.

At the time, the Mavs’ postseason hopes were still alive, they just needed to come out on top to have a chance heading into the final day. The team then decided to rest key players, including Irving and Doncic, ultimately losing the game.

The NBA didn’t take kindly to that and launched an investigation, eventually deciding to fine the organization $750,000.

“The NBA announced today that the Dallas Mavericks organization has been fined $750,000 for conduct detrimental to the league in an elimination game against the Chicago Bulls on April 7,” the league said in a statement. “The Mavericks violated the league’s player resting policy and demonstrated through actions and public statements the organization’s desire to lose the game in order to improve the chances of keeping its first-round pick in the 2023 NBA Draft. The league did not find that the players who participated in the game were not playing to win.”

In a statement of his own, NBA Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations, Joe Dumars claimed that the Mavericks “failed” the league’s fans.

“The Dallas Mavericks’ decision to restrict key players from fully participating in an elimination game last Friday against Chicago undermined the integrity of our sport,” he said. “The Mavericks’ actions failed our fans and our league.”

Jason Kidd Reveals Mavs’ Plan to Tank vs. Bulls

A possible red flag for the NBA, causing their investigation into the Mavericks organization, was Jason Kidd‘s pregame presser that day.

Kidd explained the the media that the organization had decided to change course ahead of the final pair of games.

“We were fighting for our lives, and understanding this is a situation we’re in, but the organization has made the decision to change,” Jason Kidd said via the “Dallas Morning News’” Brad Townsend. “So, you know, we have to go by that and that’s something that happens. So the guys that are playing, we got to go out there and put our best foot forward, and we talked about that this afternoon… And the guys that are playing are gonna go out and try to play to win. You gotta be pros. You can’t cheat the game.”

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