The Dallas Mavericks aren’t immune to the demands of an NBA superstar. That’s the message from ESPN’s Tim MacMahon recently on the Hoop Collective podcast. Luka Doncic is under contract through 2026-27, but anyone who follows the NBA knows that when it comes to superstars, those contract timelines are sped up and often irrelevant.
If the Mavericks can’t construct a roster that gives Doncic a chance to win a championship, his eyes may start wandering toward other franchises. That’s not some special insider knowledge, it’s just the way the NBA works in the 21st century. MacMahon is just voicing what we all know:
“I think they have a two-year window,” MacMahon said. “This season and next season going into that  summer. I think they have a two-year window where, you know, like Milwaukee did with Giannis [Antetokounmpo], I think in that window they really need to convince Luka that he has a chance to contend year in and year out right here in Dallas. If they can’t get it done in that two-year window, I’m not going to sit here and tell you that he’s going to force a trade or ask for a trade. I’m just saying at that point if he’s not happy, he has all the leverage in the world if he would be looking for leave.”
MacMahon makes sure to be clear that he’s not saying Doncic is looking for reasons to leave. In fact, he indicates that Doncic would be happy to stay in Dallas for a long time. But the Mavericks will have to make sure they’re doing everything in their power to stay competitive. MacMahon continued:
“I’m also not going to pretend I know his innermost thoughts, but obviously I’m around this team on a regular basis. I know people who do know Luka well. I don’t think Luka will look for reasons to leave. I think he’d be perfectly happy spending his entire career in Dallas. But if he doesn’t have to look for reasons and they’re slamming him in the face, then that’s a problem.”
In the end, MacMahon says, it will all come down to winning:
“He’s also a guy who is a ruthless competitor, which means he loves winning. He’s used to winning. He won championships with Real Madrid. He won a EuroBasket championship with the Slovenian national team. He also detests losing. Like can’t handle it. Whether it’s cards, ping pong, but especially NBA games.”
The Mavericks still have time to show Doncic that Dallas is a place he can win, and win often. Their recent trip to the Western Conference Finals likely bought them some time, but they’ll need more. There’s no help coming in the form of a trade this season, but once the offseason kicks off, the Mavericks will be free of their draft pick obligations to the New York Knicks. That will give them the ability to take big swings when superstars or borderline all-star players come available.
The Dallas front office will have to be smart, ruthless, and focused on winning if they want to make sure Doncic stays in the Metroplex.