There’s been a lot of big stories in the NBA lately, but last night served as a stark reminder that history will remember this season mostly for the genesis of Luka. A fucking unreal hit by the Mavericks. This dude casually transitioned from being a teenage EuroLeague MVP to being a teenage NBA star with no joke the top clutch stats in the league:
Just last summer, the Mavs top assets were Dennis Smith Jr, two semi-expiring contracts (Barnes and Matthews), and a #5 overall pick. Somehow one year later we are a budding dynasty with the greatest teenage prospect in history teaming up with KP and whoever we acquire next. It is just impossible to overstate how legendary Donnie and the front office truly are. This feat is so incredible that we got to watch Giannis win the MVP last night and nobody cares that we passed on him in the draft for $400k in cap room.
The story is that on draft night 2013, Donnie Nelson was so adamant about how good Giannis would be and demanded to Cuban that we take him, but Cuban overruled in order to trade back and get about $400k in cap space to offer Dwight Howard a max contract. To this day, the Mavs have quite literally never signed a meaningful UFA, but Cuban insisted that we pass on a future MVP just in case we had a shot at Howard.
To the layman’s eye, the decision makes no sense at all. However, in retrospect, it was the right thing to do. Dirk was entering the tail end of his career and we owed him the world. Not only was (is) he our god both on and off the court but he also passed up nearly $200M in wages to keep us competitive under the cap.
That is a staggering sacrifice by our god. There was only one morally correct approach to take through the end of his career and that was to look short term only and swing for the fences. Maybe we only had a 1% chance of signing Howard, and if so then that was 1% past the minimum necessary threshold to pass on a future MVP. Cuban and Donnie did their best to do our god right and I applaud them for it.
Besides, it’s not like it really mattered in the end. We have the best front office in the league. They got us someone else better anyway.
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