At first glance, the Dallas Mavericks are a team that has everything going for them. A genius, billionaire owner in Mark Cuban, an enthusiastic fan base residing in a big market, and a generational talent in Luka Doncic, who has already emerged as one of the best players in the game.
But behind the scenes, things have gotten rather messy for the team.
Earlier this week, the light was shed on the situation in Dallas, revealing that the team's "Director of Quantitative Research and Development," Haralabos "Bob" Voulgaris, holds much more power than his title would suggest. Apparently, Voulgaris has close ties to Mark Cuban, which essentially gives him a say in trades, free agency, and even lineup rotations during games. By all accounts, he has become a sort of "shadow GM" for the organization, and Luka Doncic isn't a big fan.
At one point, Luka called out Carlisle during a game, essentially challenging him to do his own thing instead of forcing the agenda of the shadow GM.
Luka yelled at Carlisle in the middle of a game once “who’s in charge, you or Bob?”
That incident was just one example of what we now know was a strained relationship, but there's also the time we caught Luka yelling at Carlisle mid-game for his apparent misuse of a timeout. Suffice it to say, their relationship was far from ideal.
The tension between Carlisle and 22-year-old superstar Luka Doncic had increasingly become concerning within the Mavs organization, sources said. Doncic showed up Carlisle several times this season, such as making animated gestures on the court when he disagreed with a decision or yelling at Carlisle in front of assistant coaches and teammates.
Despite this friction with the franchise player, and the ripple effect the story on his role within the team caused, Voulgaris still remains on the staff, which is more than can be said for Carlisle, who recently announced he would not be returning to coach the Mavericks.
There had been simmering tension between Luka Doncic and Rick Carlisle that was a concern within the Mavs organization. The expectation was that he'd return next season, but he'd have been on the hot seat.
In the end, it'll be up to Mark Cuban to dictate the future of his team. If he brings in the right personnel and finds success, the Mavericks will be a team to fear for years to come.
But if things don't pan out, it's very possible that Luka ends up leaving.
Needless to say, this offseason is one of great importance for the Mavericks, and they can't afford to mess it up.