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#pounditSunday, October 24, 2021

Luka Doncic

Alleged reason why Suns passed on Luka Doncic revealed

Luka Doncic bringing the ball up the floor

The Phoenix Suns made the NBA Finals last season, but their fans probably still wonder what could have been if the team drafted Luka Doncic in 2018.

ESPN’s Tim MacMahon said recently on “The Hoop Collective” podcast that Suns owner Robert Sarver was the one behind the decision to take Deandre Ayton over Doncic.

“I’ve been told by multiple people who were with the Phoenix organization that [picking Ayton] was a total Robert Sarver move,” said MacMahon. “It sure wasn’t [then-Suns coach] Igor [Kokoskov]. He wanted them obviously to get Luka, and to put a big offer on the table for Clint Capela.”

MacMahon’s co-host, Brian Windhorst, added that Ayton attended college at the University of Arizona, where Sarver is “a proud alum.”

Kokoskov, who is now an assistant coach for Doncic’s Dallas Mavericks, was certainly no stranger to Doncic’s talent. He coached Doncic on the Slovenian national team, winning the EuroBasket title in 2017 with a teenage Doncic.

The Ayton pick worked out to an extent for Phoenix, as he was indispensable to their run to the 2021 Finals. But that run was largely viewed as a one-year blip that the Suns took advantage of thanks to a profusion of injuries in the West. Passing on Ayton, a future potential All-Star, to draft Doncic, a future potential MVP, might have given them a more sustainable championship window. Ironically enough, the Suns themselves do not even think that Ayton is a truly elite player, which is causing friction in their contract negotiations right now.

Video: Luka Doncic cursed out Clippers during preseason game

Luka Doncic cursing

Luka Doncic has had just about enough of the LA Clippers to this point of his young NBA career.

The Dallas Mavericks All-Star got heated with the Clippers during Friday’s preseason game. Clippers swingman Terance Mann blocked Doncic in the first half and then drew an offensive foul against him in the same sequence. When Mann responded by celebrating a bit, Doncic cursed in the direction of Mann and the Clippers bench.

“Shut the f— up,” Doncic could be seen mouthing twice at them. Take a look.

The 22-year-old Doncic already has an extensive history with the Clippers. The Mavs have lost in the first round to the Clippers in each of the last two seasons. Doncic has also beefed with certain Clippers players during those playoff battles.

Dallas did end up winning Friday’s preseason game by a 122-114 final. But Doncic has to be sick and tired by now of getting punked by the Clippers.

Jason Kidd reveals what he wants Luka Doncic to improve upon

Luka Doncic

Most people would say Luka Doncic doesn’t have much to improve upon as he enters his fourth NBA season, but Dallas Mavericks coach Jason Kidd has some constructive feedback for the young star.

Kidd was full of praise for Doncic at the team’s media day Monday, comparing Doncic to “a young Picasso.” Kidd did say, however, that he wants to encourage Doncic to use his teammates and be comfortable relying on them.

There were certainly times last season that Doncic had the look of someone who felt they had to do it all themselves. That was the case even when he was having bad shooting nights or struggling to play his best.

On the other hand, some would probably argue Doncic would trust his teammates more if he had more reliable teammates — or at the very least, ones he gets on with better.

Nico Harrison shares reason Mavs traveled to Slovenia for Luka Doncic extension

Luka Doncic

Luka Doncic on Monday agreed to a five-year, $207 million supermax contract extension with the Dallas Mavericks. The deal was historic as it provided the first rookie supermax extension since Doncic has already made two All-NBA teams.

The Mavs traveled to Slovenia to make the extension happen and hold a press conference. They brought new president of basketball operations Nico Harrison, vice president of basketball operations Michael Finley, owner Mark Cuban, and special adviser Dirk Nowitzki.

So, why did they all travel to make that trip? Harrison told the Dallas Morning News.

“Honestly, just the idea of the trip, all of us going to show Luka that amount of respect to go to his birthplace,” Harrison said of the reason. “I think when you put that much time and energy and thoughtfulness into doing something like that, it becomes bigger than just a big contract.”

That is a good thing for Dallas. Doncic is their franchise player. Showing him the level of respect and commitment they have to him is important, especially before he signs a big contract. No matter how much money a player has or how famous they are, they all still want to feel loved and wanted. The Mavs knew it was important to show Doncic that.

Luka Doncic agrees to supermax $207 million extension with Mavericks

Luka Doncic

One of the biggest contract extensions of the NBA offseason is done, and Luka Doncic will be a member of the Dallas Mavericks for a long time to come.

Doncic’s agent Bill Duffy confirmed to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on Monday that Doncic has agreed to sign a five-year, $207 million supermax extension with Dallas. It’s the first time anyone has been able to sign a designated rookie max extension, as Doncic has been voted All-NBA twice by the age of 22.

Doncic said in a statement that he was eager to use the money to expand his foundation, and he is focused on building and refurbishing basketball courts in his native Slovenia.

“Today is a dream come true,” Doncic said in a statement. “The game of basketball has given me so much and has taken me to so many amazing places. I am humbled and excited to remain in Dallas as part of the Mavericks and appreciate the support of my fans.

“Along with this new contract, I am also happy to announce that I am increasing my efforts and focusing on expanding The Luka Dončić Foundation. My foundation is an international non-profit that will give back to places that mean so much to me like my home country of Slovenia, as well as the communities in North Texas.”

Doncic will officially sign the contract Tuesday and will also hold a news conference in Slovenia.

It’s been an offseason of major changes for Dallas, but locking down Doncic gives the franchise the stability it needed. Rick Carlisle departed as head coach, a move that apparently would have pleased Doncic. There was some speculation that the star was unhappy with the departure of team president Donnie Nelson, but it clearly didn’t impact his willingness to sign this megadeal. It will tie him to the Mavericks through at least 2027.

Argentina coach has extremely high praise for Luka Doncic

Luka Doncic

Luka Doncic led Slovenia to a win at the Tokyo Olympics on Monday with one of the best international game performances you will ever see, and even the opposing coach was in awe.

Doncic scored 48 points in Slovenia’s 118-100 victory over Argentina. He fell just seven points shy of the Olympic record of 55, which was set by Brazilian Hall of Famer Oscar Schmidt in 1988. After the game, Argentina head coach Sergio Hernandez told reporters that Doncic “just destroyed us.” Hernandez had extremely high praise for the Dallas Mavericks star.

“He is the best player in the world, including the NBA,” Hernandez said, via Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News. “If there was any doubt in my mind, it is there no more.”

Hernandez added that Argentina tried everything they could to stop Doncic but that the 22-year-old is “not a normal player.”

While most people would probably consider one of LeBron James, Kevin Durant or Giannis Antetokounmpo to be the best player in the world, Doncic certainly stated his case. Keep in mind that international games are only 40 minutes as opposed to 48 like in the NBA. Doncic scored 17 points in the first quarter alone. His 48 points were more than the entire Team USA starting lineup had combined in Sunday’s loss to France.

We saw some awesome reactions on Twitter after Doncic’s amazing Olympic debut. All eyes will be on him going forward in the tournament.

Twitter reacts to Luka Doncic’s insane Olympic debut

Luka Doncic

Luka Doncic made his Olympic debut on Monday, and to say he put on a show would be an understatement. The Dallas Mavericks star nearly set an Olympic scoring record while leading Slovenia to a 118-100 win over Argentina.

Doncic scored 48 points in 31 minutes. The point total is the second-most ever in an Olympic game, as he fell just short of the 55 points Brazilian Hall of Famer Oscar Schmidt scored in 1988. Doncic also had 11 rebounds and 5 assists.

The scoring output from Doncic was absolutely insane no matter how you look at it. He had 17 points in the first quarter alone. Keep in mind that quarters are only 10 minutes in the Olympics as opposed to 12 in an NBA game. The reactions on Twitter were as good as you’d expect.

Doncic’s 48 points were more than Team USA’s entire starting lineup had combined in Sunday’s loss to France. As you might imagine, the Twitter reactions for the American team were a lot different (see them here) than the ones we saw with Doncic.

Doncic is now a perfect 14-0 in international competition with Slovenia. That is hardly a coincidence.

Luka Doncic has interesting answer about importance of Olympic gold

Luka Doncic

In general, most would expect that a basketball player’s main goal would be to win an NBA title. That may be true, but Luka Doncic has his own interesting perspective on things.

Doncic was asked Saturday if winning Olympic gold for Slovenia or winning an NBA championship would mean more to him. His answer may surprise some.

This is certainly in part down to cultural differences. Many young American players care far more about the NBA than international play. It can often be the opposite in Europe, especially for a smaller nation like Slovenia where any international success and recognition is unique.

Doncic might not be thrilled with everything happening on the NBA side for him right now. Playing for Slovenia is a nice focus for him at the moment.

Luka Doncic does not think he gets favorable calls

Luka Doncic

Luka Doncic has a reputation for complaining about calls in the NBA. His attitude on the subject seems to be quite fitting.

Doncic was playing for Slovenia in an Olympic qualifier game on Wednesday. His country won 118-68 and will take on Poland next.

Doncic was asked after the game whether he is used to not getting the same kind of calls in FIBA play as he gets in the NBA. Doncic said he did not think he got superstar calls in the NBA.

Nobody should be surprised by this, as it’s well established that Doncic complains about calls. Mark Cuban has even come to Doncic’s defense when the Dallas Mavericks guard was called a whiner.

Luka Doncic was not happy with Kristaps Porzingis over strip club visit

Kristaps Porzingis

Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis have been teammates the last two seasons, and the two apparently have some issues.

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said in a radio interview in April that Doncic and Porzingis get along fine on the court but have different interests off of it. Porzingis denied having any issues with Doncic. But apparently Luka had some problems recently.

Porzingis was fined $50,000 by the NBA for attending an unspecified type of club on May 23. That apparently was a visit to a Los Angeles strip club during the Mavericks’ playoff series with the Clippers.

Mavs insider Mike Fisher says Doncic was bothered by Porzingis’ violation.

Fisher added that some Mavericks players find Porzingis’ behavior to be unprofessional too frequently.

Porzingis is only 25 but has been in the league since 2015. He has made one All-Star team but been bothered by injuries during his career. The Mavericks were hoping that acquiring him would give them a lethal pairing with Doncic. So far, that hasn’t quite worked out as hoped.