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Mavericks on the clock with Luka Doncic: Win now before it’s too late

The Dallas Mavericks need to win now with Luka Doncic, or they could be at risk of losing him down the line.

NBA superstars the caliber of Luka Doncic don’t come around that often. Doncic’s usage rate is through the roof, and while it may not make for the most consistent way to win basketball games, it does make Dallas one of the more dangerous teams in the Western Conference, especially down the stretch of games.

That same danger, however, puts them at risk to eventually lose Doncic if they don’t surround him with the necessary talent to make a run at a championship. Luka has made the Western Conference Finals once in his brief NBA tenure, but considering his talent level, he ought to feel he can compete at that level year-in and year-out.

It’s fair to question whether the current iteration of the Dallas Mavericks are good enough to reach those heights.

Could the Mavericks lose Luka Doncic?

Luka Doncic is signed through his age-28 season, which is the 2026-27 league year. However, in a league where the players hold all the cards, an unhappy Doncic would put the Mavericks between a rock and a hard place.

Per ESPN NBA insider Tim McMahon, the Mavs may be closer than they think to some unwanted Doncic drama.

“I think they have a two-year window. This season and next season going into that [2024] summer. I think they have a two-year window where…they really need to convince Luka that he has a chance to contend year in and year out right here in Dallas,” McMahon said. “I’m not going to sit here and tell you that he’s going to force a trade or ask for a trade. I’m just saying at that point if he’s not happy, he has all the leverage in the world if he would be looking for leave.”

It’s important to note, as McMahon does, that this is not to say Doncic is close to forcing his way out. Still, we’ve seen players of his caliber (especially of late) force their way to a bigger market or a better team for less.

Mark Cuban and the Mavs want to keep Doncic as happy as possible, because he is their only link to a star, and a championship-level roster. Without Luka, they might as well start over.

“He’s used to winning. He won championships with Real Madrid. He won a EuroBasket championship with the Slovenian national team. He also detests losing. Like can’t handle it. Whether it’s cards, ping pong, but especially NBA games,” McMahon continued.

Someone as competitive as Doncic does not deal well with consistent failures. And in the NBA, 29 teams fail every year.

The supporting cast around Doncic currently is not nearly good enough. The Mavs have time to fix that, but the clock is ticking.

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