In a Friday afternoon podcast, I jokingly wished for some news because I was tired of all the speculation and supposition going on in Mavsland as we all slowly waded into the offseason. Who knew that I’d get just what I asked for Monday morning.
Tim Cato of the Athletic (and formerly of Mavs Moneyball!) dropped a bombshell of a story today, detailing the growing division in the Dallas front office. Specifically, the story focuses on director of quantitative research and development, Haralabos Voulgaris, and his role in the Dallas organization. There’s a great deal in the story, and I cannot recommend you signing up for the Athletic more if you haven’t already, but the gist of the story boils doiwn to this one section:
Internally, there are concerns the front office’s dysfunction has hurt its ability to do so — and that poor relationships Doncic has with key members of the franchise, including Voulgaris, could impact his current desire to remain in Dallas long-term.
The story, which again, you should read if you can, gets into some of the recent moves made by the team all of which were reportedly championed by Voulgaris sometimes over the objection of other front office staff.
There are likely many fans who don’t even know who Voulgaris is; this ESPN story can summarize the broad strokes. Essentially he’s a millionaire gambler who made a great deal of money off the NBA not once, but twice, and the second time involved coming up with a complex modeling database that helped him with betting. He’s extremely smart and was early to the analytical evolution and made a great deal of money off of it in basketball betting.
The broad story gets to the heart of questions which should bother Dallas fans: who does Mark Cuban listen to the most and perhaps more importantly, why is Mark Cuban so involved in the day-to-day of his basketball team?
In very predictable fashion, Mr. Cuban has responded on Twitter by lashing out at Tim Cato, which is particularly weird as Cato gave him a chance to respond to the story prior to publishing (which he did, there are Cuban quotes in it) and then complaining about how journalism works in a follow up tweet.
The Mavericks are a team on the rise, at least in theory with a once-in-a-generation talent in Luka Doncic, so they should get used to news which isn’t always flattering. Whether there’s a rift or not isn’t entirely the point now; instead there’s some dirty laundry being aired in one way or another and if the Mavericks want to keep their superstar happy, they should simply find a way to build a better team.
Sunlight is the best disinfectant and airing these issues now, before the problems become so engrained that Dallas can’t fix them, is way more important than any one person’s ego or role. Winning fixes a great deal, so perhaps the Mavericks would be best served getting everyone on the same page and executing a plan to go out and build a championship contending team.
We also recorded a quick podcast mid-day talking about this story, which you can download here or by searching in your favorite podcast app for the Mavs Moneyball Podcast. Or you can just press play below and listen to the embed!