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Report: Luka Doncic’s beef with ‘shadow GM’ has Mavs worried about long-term future

Luka Doncic, Mavs

There has been a lot made of Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic’s relationship with Kristaps Porzingis. But according to a story from Tim Cato and Sam Amick of The Athletic, it’s Doncic’s relationship with another Mavs employee that has some in the organization concerned about his long-term future in Dallas.

It’s not Mark Cuban nor Rick Carlisle, but rather Haralabos Voulgaris. Cuban hired the longtime sports gambler in 2018, and Voulgaris has apparently become something of a “shadow GM” alongside Donnie Nelson and Cuban’s right-hand man who has been the most influential voice in the Mavs’ front office:

Dallas announced Voulgaris’ hiring in the fall of 2018 with a title — director of quantitative research and development — that vastly understated his actual role. Multiple league and team sources tell The Athletic that Voulgaris has been the most influential voice within the Mavericks front office since joining the team, either initiating or approving virtually every transaction made over the past two seasons. Those same sources add that Voulgaris has frequently gone as far as scripting the starting lineups and rotations for longtime head coach Rick Carlisle.

Doncic is apparently no fan of Voulgaris, with several notable incidents staining their relationship. Voulgaris has other haters within the Mavs, with complaints about his decision-making and his inability “to talk to people.”

Cuban defended Voulgaris in a statement to The Athletic, but it’s unclear if Voulgaris will remain with the organization as he heads into this summer with an expiring contract. The assumption is if Doncic wants him gone, he’s gone, but no decisions have been made yet.

While this certainly isn’t great for the Mavs, Doncic is fully expected to sign a supermax contract that’s projected to pay him over $200 million over five seasons. But there are concerns internally about Doncic’s desire to stick around over the long haul, and the clock is ticking on Dallas in terms of building a quality roster around him.

This will be a situation to monitor in the coming years.