Power struggle led to firing of Mavs GM Donnie Nelson?
Former Dallas Mavericks general manager Donnie Nelson answers questions during a press conference at the American Airlines Center. Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Mavericks announced on Wednesday that they have mutually agreed to part ways with longtime general manager Donnie Nelson. As some have suspected, the decision was reportedly not as “mutual” as the team would like people to believe.

According to Tim Cato and Sam Amick of The Athletic, Nelson had begun to feel like he was not truly in charge of the Mavericks’ roster anymore. He felt his opinion held less weight than that of Haralabos Voulgaris, a former professional gambler whom Mark Cuban hired in 2018. Voulgaris’ official title is director of quantitative research and development, but Cuban has leaned heavily on his analytics-based approach and given him a significant voice.

When Nelson went to Cuban with his concerns, they were apparently not well received. Nelson was fired on Sunday after 24 years with the Mavericks, according to The Athletic.

Nelson reportedly felt that a line had been crossed, though Voulgaris never openly tried to surpass him as primary decision-maker on the basketball side of things. The longtime GM believed that his credibility was being damaged by Voulgaris’ relationship with Cuban and the wide-ranging belief within the organization that Voulgaris is Cuban’s No. 2.

The big question for the Mavericks now is how the changes will impact Doncic’s future with the team, if at all. A separate report from The Athletic this week painted Doncic as being incredibly annoyed with Voulgaris’ presence and influence in Dallas. Cuban issued a strong response on Twitter, which you can see here.

Doncic is eligible for a supermax extension this offseason that will be worth more than $200 million over five years. He is still reportedly planning to sign it, but he made it clear on Thursday that he does not agree with Nelson being fired.

This article first appeared on Larry Brown Sports and was syndicated with permission.

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