Mavs owner Mark Cuban learning to speak Slovenian for Luka Doncic
Mark Cuban knows that Luka Doncic holds the key to the Dallas Mavericks, and making him happy is at the top of his priority list. After all, no owner would want his franchise player to feel unwelcome and unloved.
Cuban has been doing that part well over the past two years, but he recently decided to step up his efforts of making Doncic feel at home with the Mavs: he’s started to learn Slovenian for Doncic.
Mark Cuban says he is learning to speak some Slovenian. Not a lot, he emphasized. Some.
"It's hard as hell," he says.
— Brad Townsend (@townbrad) December 19, 2019
It does seem extra for an outsider that an American team owner would even take the time to learn more about the language of his European star player when Doncic can speak English just fine. However, it’s important to remember that the Mavs owner is a shrewd businessman: he’s not learning Slovenian just so he can share memes to his young star and talk about it in his native tongue.
This effort is a declaration of intent from Cuban to the rest of the league. They will have to give as much effort as he does on making Luka feel loved in Dallas for them to even get him into thinking about leaving the Mavs.
Moreover, it will be a great help in the contract negotiations if Cuban manages to become fluent in Slovenian. Luka’s rookie contract will expire in 2022, and you can be sure that negotiations for a fresh set of terms will be an intense affair. If Cuban can directly address Luka in his mother tongue, he will be able to get his point across better and maybe convince him to sign on the dotted line.
It’s hard to imagine the Mavs not giving him the super-max, though. He’s averaging 29.3 points, 9.6 rebounds and 8.9 assists this season. They will want to tie him down for as long as possible, and Cuban and Co will surely be willing to shell out money for him.