After a long rookie season Luka Doncic returned to his homeland of Ljubljana, Slovenia. Doncic took two weeks off, of his three weeks back home, but resumed training this week as his coworkers came to visit him according to Slovenian media outlets.
Rick Carlisle, joined by assistant coach Jamal Mosley and Dwight Powell, practiced with Doncic at a local high school gym. During the season Carlisle mentioned how he wanted to visit Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis in their hometowns as both a sign of the organization’s commitment to the two and to better understand each person.
When the Mavericks drafted Dennis Smith Jr. in 2017 Carlisle made a home visit to Fayetteville, North Carolina to meet the extended Smith family. Before the visit to Fayetteville, the Mavericks hadn’t sent their coach to visit the homes of any new draft picks in recent memory.
Dallas saw Smith Jr. as a franchise cornerstone, as they now see Doncic and Porzingis. In his exit interview Carlisle said he planned on visiting Porzingis in Latvia during a Basketball Without Borders event scheduled in early June.
These two young stars are the future of Dallas basketball. Mark Cuban said he wanted to keep Doncic and Porzingis together in Dallas for the next 20 years on the day Kristaps was introduced to the media.
Luckily for Mavericks fans, their team has a precedent of retaining a generational talent for 20+ years. He also happened to be teammates with Doncic and and Porzingis for a season. At media day Dirk Nowitzki said he wouldn’t take part in recruiting free agents this summer.
That doesn’t mean he won’t show current Mavericks the benefits of remaining with this franchise. Nowitzki and his family will continue to live in Dallas and be involved with the franchise in some capacity.
Possibly the most important thing he can do for the franchise is show the young stars a glimpse how Dallas might treat them if they stay with the team and win a championship for the city.
How many other franchises have the luxury of their greatest ever player staying around the team to show others how well their city treats its stars? Not many.
Only 10 players in the NBA have been on their current team for eight or more seasons: Udonis Haslem, Mike Conley, Russell Westbrook, Steph Curry, John Wall, Derrick Favors, Patty Mills, Klay Thompson, and Kemba Walker.
Of those 10 only eight were drafted by their current team. Those eight remaining might turn to six before the start of the season with Conley on the trading block and Kemba Walker approaching free agency.
These players are the exceptions, not the rule. Look at the top end talent in the NBA and where their allegiances lie. Lebron James is on his third team in six seasons. Jimmy Butler could be on his fourth team in four seasons depending on this summer. Kyrie Irving wanted a trade out of Cleveland after winning a championship and after two seasons in Boston he appears on his way out again.
Being the centerpiece of the greatest dynasty of this decade probably won’t stop Kevin Durant from leaving in July. A championship, a finals MVP, and the best coach in NBA history didn’t keep Kawhi Leonard form asking out of San Antonio.
Luka Doncic since coming to Dallas has frequently expressed his love of Dallas and MFFLs everywhere. Kristaps Porzingis has shown reserved optimism in his limited interaction with the media when addressing the prospect of a long-term future in Dallas.
The Mavericks did well to assemble one of, if not the most, talented young duo in the NBA. Their hard work isn’t over yet. If Cuban is to reach his goal of keeping this pair together for 20 years he will need the help from the only player in NBA history to stay with one team for 21 years.
There will never be another 41.21.1. But in 2039 if the Mavericks prove they’re still worth receiving extreme loyalty they’ll be celebrating 77.21.1.