Lakers Champion to Set for Official Mavericks Training Camp Visit

Frank Vogel Dallas Mavericks

Getty LeBron James #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers and Anthony Davis #3 talk with head coach Frank Vogel.

A mildly surprising run to the Western Conference Finals last season had the potential to catapult the Dallas Mavericks into the company of premier basketball destinations this summer.

But rather than add marquee talent, the Mavericks’ biggest roster move involved a departure, not an arrival. Jalen Brunson left the Mavericks this summer in favor of the Big Apple, teaming up with Julius Randle and RJ Barrett with the New York Knicks.

To make up for the loss, the Mavericks traded for Christian Wood and signed free agent Javale McGee. The only problem? Brunson was a point guard and both Wood and McGee are centers (with Wood capable of playing some four, as well).

It’s not quite the summer haul some fans might have hoped for, but Dallas was also cap-strapped this summer. Heading into the new season, Dallas has the 12th-highest payroll, though it now lacks much top-end talent outside of Luka Doncic.

But that hasn’t stopped head coach Jason Kidd from recruiting a former champion with the Los Angeles Lakers to Dallas’ training camp this week. Speaking with reporters on Tuesday, Kidd explained that he extended an invite to former Lakers head coach Frank Vogel.

“He took me up on it right away,” Kidd said.

It’s not uncommon for former coaches to pop into camps as a way to keep their feet wet while they wait for their next job.

But Vogel isn’t the only member of the purple and gold to be linked to Dallas recently.

LeBron James Linked to Dallas Mavericks by ESPN Insider

ESPN analyst Brian Windhorst appeared on an episode of The Bill Simmons Podcast to map out potential career paths that Lakers star LeBron James could take as his career winds down.

Simmons suggested that James could stay put in Los Angeles or return to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Windhorst, on the other hand, mentioned a sleeper team that could attract LeBron’s attention: the Dallas Mavericks.

“One other team that I’ll bring up, I did mention earlier: Dallas. He does have an affinity for Luka. That’s not exactly a hot take,” Windhorst said on September 27.

Windhorst linked James to the Lone Star State after the NBA legend made a strong effort to sign Doncic to his apparel brand in 2019.

“You know, he tried to get Luka–you know, LeBron doesn’t have people who wear his brand, officially. When Luka signed with Nike, he wanted Luka to be a, like, LeBron guy. He wanted Luka to be in the brand, kinda like Jordan has all these guys. And it didn’t go that way, Luka ended up going with Jordan,” Windhorst said.

The discussion came amidst Simmons arguing that James could be in “title-chase mode” in order to add to his already stout resume. But if James does indeed seek opportunities to lift the Larry O’Brien Trophy, he could do worse than Dallas.

After all, Mavs star Luka Doncic is aligned with the goal of getting to the Finals next season.

Doncic Aims to Make Finals Next Season with Mavericks

While Doncic made his first Western Conference Finals last season, the superstar guard expects even more this season.

“My expectation is to make it to the [NBA] Finals, first of all,” Doncic said on ESPN on September 22. “I know it’s gonna be really, really hard, but we gotta believe, everybody’s gotta believe it. And if the whole team believes, then it can probably happen, but it’s gonna be really hard.”

As long as Doncic is taking the court for Dallas, they’ll be a tough out. Simply ask the Phoenix Suns, who entered their Second Round series against Dallas with the West’s No. 1 seed after a 64-win season.

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