Report: Mavs personnel fear Doncic's rift with exec may impact future with team
Members of the Dallas Mavericks organization are concerned a strained relationship with a front-office executive could deter franchise star Luka Doncic from staying with the team long term, sources told The Athletic's Tim Cato and Sam Amick.
Doncic, who has already suggested he will sign a super-max extension with Dallas this offseason, reportedly has a poor relationship with Haralabos "Bob" Voulgaris, a former sports gambler who was hired in 2018 by team owner Mark Cuban and given the title of director of quantitative research and development.
Voulgaris is believed to have considerable sway within the organization. He reportedly significantly influenced the Mavericks' draft in 2020 when they selected Josh Green and Tyrell Terry, and has apparently altered starting lineups and rotations for head coach Rick Carlisle.
Doncic's dislike of Voulgaris was apparently visible during a game against the Golden State Warriors in February after the Mavericks star committed a turnover.
Doncic interpreted a gesture from a courtside Voulgaris as telling him to calm down, to which he replied, "Don't f------ tell me to calm down," sources told Cato and Amick. Voulgaris reportedly stated afterward he wasn't singling out Doncic.
In another incident in April, Voulgaris left a game against the New York Knicks 45 seconds early with the Mavericks down by 10. Doncic then criticized the front-office member in the locker room to his teammates as having quit on them, sources told Cato and Amick.
Cuban later denied The Athletic's report.
Voulgaris' contract with the team will reportedly expire after the season and his own future with the team is uncertain. However, Cuban said he values his experience in the front office.
"Bob has a great grasp of AI and the opportunities it creates for gaining an advantage, which is important to me," he told Cato and Amick. "But he isn’t any more influential than any other data source on the team."