As expected, Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic has agreed to a five-year, $207 million extension with the team, according to a report from Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. The new contract will kick in at the start of the 2022-23 season and includes a player option for the final year, per Wojnarowski.
Doncic, who led Slovenia to a fourth-place finish at the Tokyo Olympics earlier this month, is currently back home in his native country. A large contingent of Mavericks officials, including owner Mark Cuban, new head coach Jason Kidd and special advisor Dirk Nowitzki traveled to Slovenia to meet with Doncic and formally present the contract offer, which is expected to be finalized on Tuesday.
“Today is a dream come true,” Doncic told ESPN 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.”
Still only 22 years old, Doncic has accomplished more in his first three seasons in the league than some players do in their entire careers. He was the Rookie of the Year in 2018, has two All-Star Game appearances and two All-NBA First Team selections. The only other player since the NBA/ABA merger to accomplish the latter before turning 23 is Kevin Durant.
A triple-double machine, Doncic averaged 27.7 points, eight rebounds and 8.6 assists per game last season. He was the only player in the league to finish in the top five in scoring and assists. During last season Doncic also set a new career-high with 46 points on multiple occasions, and became the fourth-youngest player to reach 5,000 career points. Only LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Durant did it faster.
With Doncic already established as one of the best players in the league, and an MVP favorite for next season, the Mavericks were always going to offer him the most money possible. Which, because Doncic made multiple All-NBA teams, was a max extension worth 30 percent of the projected salary cap in 2022-2023 — the year the deal starts. And for Doncic, it was a no-brainer to take one of the richest deals in NBA history. He is the seventh player ever to get a $200 million contract.
Now, the real work of turning the Mavericks into title contenders begins. Doncic, perhaps a bit ahead of schedule, helped end the Mavericks’ postseason drought in 2020, and has led the team to the playoffs in each of the past two seasons. Both of those trips ended in first-round defeats to the Los Angeles Clippers, however, and the Mavericks have still not won a playoff series since 2011, when they won the title.
With Doncic leading the way, that will change soon. But whether or not they can jump up into contender status in a crowded Western Conference will depend on the type of team that the Mavericks can build around him. This summer they cleaned house in the front office and coaching staff, but didn’t make any high-profile signings in free agency. That didn’t dissuade Doncic from agreeing to the extension, but the Mavericks are going to have to make some additions in the next few years to make sure they don’t waste Doncic’s brilliance.
Courtesy: CBS Sports