‘Tank’ You, NBA! Mavs Fined $750K for Tanking to Keep ‘Knicks Pick’

Luka Doncic Dallas Mavericks

Getty Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.

The Dallas Mavericks drew a $750,000 fine for their blatant tanking, increasing their chances of keeping their pick from conveying to the New York Knicks as the final payment for the Kristaps Porzingis trade.

The NBA announced its decision on Friday following an investigation into the Mavericks’ move to rest their stars, Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving, plus several of their key rotation players while they were still mathematically in contention for a play-in spot.

“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,” NBA Executive Vice President and Head of Basketball Operations Joe Dumars said in an official statement. “The Mavericks’ actions failed our fans and our league.”

Dallas coach Jason Kidd made their intentions known in a pregame presser where he coined the front office’s decision as a “step back” rather than “waving the white flag.”

“Decisions sometimes are hard in this business, and you have to make hard decisions. We’re trying to build a championship team, and sometimes you gotta take a step back,” Kidd said. “Understanding with this decision, this is maybe a step back, but hopefully it leads to going forward.”

By bowing out with the 10th-best lottery odds, the Mavericks now have a 65.9% chance of keeping their pick, according to Tankathon. The Knicks’ chances of getting the Mavericks’ pick decreased to 19%.

If the Mavericks keep their pick in this year’s deep draft, the Knicks will have to wait for 2024 or 2025, with the same top-10 protection, for the selection to convey. It will turn into the Mavericks’ 2025 second-round pick if it still doesn’t convey by then.

It was the second time the Mavericks were fined for tanking. In 2018, they incurred a  $600,000 fine for tanking, allowing them to get a high draft pick which they used to trade for Doncic on Draft Night.

Mavs Tanking Least of Knicks’ Worries

As the Knicks prepare for their return to the NBA Playoffs, the Mavericks’ blatant tanking was farthest from coach Tom Thibodeau’s mind.

“I don’t worry about that stuff,” Thibodeau said after the Knicks, playing without their top stars, wrapped up their regular season schedule on April 9 with a 141-136 loss to the Indiana Pacers.

“To me, it’s to stay locked into what we were doing here. Every franchise has to do what they think is best for themselves. So whatever it is, I have a lot of confidence in Leon [Rose] and our front office. They’ll make the best of whatever’s in front of us,” Thibodeau added.

Luka Doncic Dismisses Trade Rumors Linking Him to Knicks

Luka Doncic cleared the air following an ESPN report that the team fears he could request a trade as soon as the summer of 2024 if they do not make significant progress next season.

“I saw the report. I don’t know who, [but] somebody said I was gonna just request a trade. It was funny because I didn’t know it was true,” Doncic said during his exit interview.

The report spawned a CBS story ranking each NBA team’s chances of landing Doncic in a potential mega-blockbuster trade. The Knicks were pegged as among the favorites.

Doncic quickly doused cold water on the rumors.

“I’m happy here [in Dallas],” Doncic said. “There’s nothing to worry about.”

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