1. Luka Dončić
Farthest Playoff Accomplishment: Western Conference finals 2021–2022 (Lost 1-4 to Golden State Warriors)
Second Star: Hell no
Next Best Three Players: Spencer Dinwiddie, Christian Wood, Dorian Finney-Smith
Current Cap Situation: Over the salary cap by $46,326,680
Next Three Year’s First Round Pick Status: 2023 (Owed to New York), 2024 (Own but can not trade until 2023 converts), 2025 (Own, next available pick to trade)
Front Office Legitimacy: Hell no, see Kristaps Porziņģis to Wizards trade, Jalen Brunson free agency
The Mavs have officially turned into the 2007 Cleveland Cavaliers. That year, LeBron James, a generational superstar, dragged a bunch of bums to the NBA Finals, only to be swept by the San Antonio Spurs. Today, the Mavericks are in the same place with Dončić, except this Mavs team can’t even get to the NBA Finals. This summer, Dallas lost their second-best player, Jalen Brunson for nothing in free agency to the New York Knicks. To the fury of their fanbase, they butchered negotiations multiple times throughout last season and this summer with the only young player on the same trajectory as Dončić. Now, they will follow up their WCF over-achieve with a likely Play-In Tournament scenario next season. Their roster is filled with overpaid, mediocre talent: Davis Bertans at $16 million, Tim Hardaway, Jr. at $19 million, and Spencer Dinwiddie at $20 million. The Mavs traded Dončić’s best buddy, Boban Marjanović while letting fellow Serbian and Mavs assistant coach Igor Kokoskov bolt for the Brooklyn Nets.
Then they overpaid 34-year-old JaVale McGee on a three-year, $20 million deal while promising him to start, complicating newly acquired Christian Wood’s role moving forward in a contract year. To make things worse, the Mavs have zero young players with upside, handcuffed draft capital, and untradeable contracts. New GM Nico Harrison was brought in for his contacts around the league but has failed miserably to recruit free agents. Even worse, he’s proven to be a bigger bum than former GM Donnie Nelson at retaining the team’s high-upside free agents. The path to improve is shrinking. Losing Brunson for nothing will haunt the franchise for years to come. They now have to overly depend on an aging roster and offensively-challenged coach in Jason Kidd. They looked second-class in their five-game beat down by the Warriors in last year’s WCF, and now their roster is dramatically worse after losing Brunson. Bottom line, of the top five superstars currently playing in small markets, Dončić is the most likely to eventually bolt. It’s no longer a matter of if but when. How do you say “oh, shit!” in Serbian?
Original source here
#smallmarket #superstars #bolt