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#pounditTuesday, November 29, 2022

Ex-Mavericks GM Donnie Nelson suing team over his firing

Donnie Nelson

The relationship between the Dallas Mavericks and former general manager Donnie Nelson has taken another ugly turn.

ESPN’s Don Van Natta reported on Thursday that Nelson has filed a lawsuit against the team. Nelson is alleging that Mavs owner Mark Cuban fired him in 2020 as retaliation for reporting a sexual harassment incident. Nelson claims that his nephew was sexually harassed and sexually assaulted by Cuban’s chief of staff, Jason Lutin, during a job interview in 2020.

The lawsuit, which was filed in Dallas County court, further describes Lutin as Cuban’s right-hand man and alleges the incident with Nelson’s nephew took place in a Chicago hotel room during All-Star Weekend in 2020.

Cuban sent an email to ESPN denying the claims made in Nelson’s lawsuit.

“Everything in that filing is a lie,” Cuban said. “We did multiple complete investigations and the only person that did not live up to the standards of the Dallas Mavericks was Mr. Nelson. He was fired as a result. He was well aware of the investigation. He refused to fully participate. I will say it again, everything he said is a lie.”

Lutin also sent a separate email to ESPN saying that the allegations were “a complete lie.”

You can read more details about the lawsuit and about the alleged incident between Lutin and Nelson’s nephew in Van Natta’s full article here.

Lutin is not listed on the Mavericks’ staff directory for this season but was listed as “Chief of Staff to Owner” as recently as the 2019-20 NBA season.

As for Nelson, the son of former Dallas coach Don Nelson, he was employed by the Mavs for 24 seasons in total, culminating with a promotion to head of basketball operations. He had a successful tenure with the team, including an NBA title in 2011 and the draft-day trade for current franchise star Luka Doncic in 2018. But Nelson was let go last summer (allegedly for a different reason than reporting the alleged sexual harassment incident). He has also had some bitter moments with the Mavs since his firing.

Nelson’s lawsuit feels like deja vu all over again for the Mavs. A few years ago, they got punished by the NBA for an allegedly toxic and uncomfortable workplace environment, also involving claims of sexual harassment.

Photo: Jerome Miron-USA Today Sports

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