Insider Reveals Luka Doncic’s Role in Mavs Recruiting After Jalen Brunson Exit

Mavericks star Luka Doncic, left

Getty Mavericks star Luka Doncic, left

Over the years, one of the side duties that has cropped up for many an NBA star concerns the addition of other NBA stars. If you’ve established yourself among the league’s elite, you’re usually called upon to try to get other elite players to want to come play for your team.

Mavs star Luka Doncic, certainly, is an NBA A-lister. But he has not spent a lot of time trying to get other top talent to come to Dallas, according to ESPN insider Tim MacMahon, a longtime Mavericks reporter. That came especially into focus as Dallas lost guard Jalen Brunson in free agency.

“I do think if you’re Luka, who, by the way, they seek his input, but he’s not heavily involved in personnel decisions,” MacMahon said on the Hoops Collective podcast. “He has not shown interest in being heavily involved. He spends much of his offseason in Europe, he’s been playing with the Slovenian national team again this summer. He’s not a guy who has shown the desire to be a recruiter.”

Indeed, the Mavericks have been mostly quiet on the free-agent market since Doncic’s arrival in 2018. They signed DeAndre Jordan shortly after Doncic was drafted, but Jordan was sent away as part of the Kristaps Porzingis trade in February 2019. Other than that, the only significant free agents the team has signed were Seth Curry in 2019 (he was traded away months later for Josh Richardson) and, now, JaVale McGee this summer.

Rough Summer for Mavericks

At issue is whether the Mavs have enough supporting pieces for Doncic, particularly coming off a trip to the conference finals last spring. The Mavericks lost g Brunson to a massive four-year, $104 million contract handed out by the Knicks, a deal largely considered an overpay on New York’s part. That may be true, but Doncic and the Mavs are now without the team’s second-leading scorer.

Brunson averaged 16.3 points in the regular season and bumped that to 21.6 points in the playoffs.

“You’re looking at that, and you’re saying we just lost our second-best player for nothing,” MacMahon noted. He went on to point out that the Mavericks traded for Christian Wood but sent away Boban Marjanovic, Doncic’s best friend on the team, in the deal. Not only that but the Mavericks failed to secure Doncic’s mentor, Goran Dragic, because (according to Dragic) in making an offer to Dragic, Dallas officials told him he was not going to play much.

“He doesn’t really have a confidant on the team anymore,” MacMahon said.

Dirk Nowitzki Developed as a Recruiter

That falls on the Mavs. The question of recruiting, though, is one for Doncic. He is at a disadvantage, having spent most of his basketball life in Europe’s pro leagues, not having formed the bonds through AAU tournaments and All-Star games that many American players have.

But Dirk Nowitzki was in a similar situation during his career. Early in his tenure, he did not get all that involved with the team’s offseason decisions, but he eventually grew into a role as both advisor and recruiter. The Mavs had a frustrating history of striking out with their free-agent targets in that time, but Nowitzki was at least involved.

Maybe Doncic will get there in time. But for now, Dragic is in Chicago, Brunson is in New York and the Mavs’ summer remains underwhelming.

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