Things may get a little awkward for Tim Hardaway Jr. and his Dallas Mavericks teammates, ahead of the team’s April 5 meeting with the Sacramento Kings. The Mavericks wing’s father, Tim Hardaway Sr., went on national television and bashed his son’s colleague’s Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving.
Hardaway Sr., who had a Hall-of-Fame playing career, joined FS1’s “The Carton Show” and claimed that neither Doncic nor Irving is a leader.
“That trade wasn’t for them, what isn’t broken doesn’t need to be fixed,” Hardaway said, speaking of the Mavs’ trade to land Irving ahead of this season’s deadline. “They’re missing a leader out there. Luka is not a leader, Kyrie is not a leader. Jalen Brunson was a leader.”
Dallas let Brunson walk out the door and join the New York Knicks last summer, after he was a key part of the team’s Western Conference Finals run just months prior.
Hardaway Sr. then called out the star duo’s lack of effort on the defensive end.
“A leader shows by example too, by playing defense,” He continued. “When he says something, he does it also, and that’s what a leader is. And like I said, those two guys are not leaders, they’re complimentary, dominant great basketball players. Great scorers.”
Luka Doncic Says Mavericks Miss Jalen Brunson
Things have gone pretty poorly for the Mavericks since electing not to pay Brunson in the offseason. With three games to play, they’re going to need a tremendous amount of help to even make the Play-In Tournament.
“The Dallas Morning News’” Callie Caplan caught up with Brunson’s former co-star Doncic, after the team’s practice Tuesday. She questioned the Slovenian star about how much Dallas misses Brunson this season.
“A lot,” Doncic replied. “I mean, amazing guy, amazing player. For sure.”
Caplan then asked the four-time All-Star if he feels like the Mavericks are currently a confident group, given their position in the Western Conference standings.
“No, not right now.” He added. “I think you don’t see that chemistry that we had before. I mean, especially last year. I think that chemistry was at the top with everybody, but you know, chemistry builds and not right away, so it’s a long process.”
Insider Hints at Mavericks’ Offseason Plans
This summer is shaping up to be a big one for the Mavericks. They’ll be tasked with resigning Irving, whose contract expires after the season, and then reshaping the supporting cast to better fit around their stars.
“Despite the Dallas Mavericks’ struggles since acquiring Kyrie Irving, the plan is still to re-sign the star guard, league sources told Bleacher Report,” Haynes wrote in an article published on April 3. “Irving is eligible for an extension, but he will instead allow his future to be decided in free agency this summer, sources said. Dallas is 9-16 since making the blockbuster trade, but the shortcomings do not fall on Irving’s shoulders. Going into the offseason, the Mavericks intend to surround Luka Dončić and—optimistically—Irving with versatile wing defenders and rim protectors to improve a defense that has been subpar,” he wrote. “The team has fallen out of the play-in field and has very little chance to climb back in with three games remaining on its schedule. The Mavs are a game back of the Oklahoma City Thunder for the final play-in spot, and Oklahoma City owns the tie-breaker.”