NBA rumors: KD-Warriors reunion? Spurs-Hawks blockbuster, Mavs' Luka problem

  • Some players are turned off by Luka Doncic's ball-dominant style
  • Spurs and Hawks discussed potential Trae Young trade
  • Warriors could be interested in Kevin Durant reunion

Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry
Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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NBA rumors: Luka Doncic's ball-dominant style deters players from Mavs

Luka Doncic has firmly planted his flag in the 2024 MVP race. He is a one-man wrecking crew on offense, obliterating defenders with arrhythmic handles, impressive finishing strength, and effortless touch. The Dallas Mavericks are 31-23 with room to improve after a busy trade deadline. On the surface, there aren't many better destinations for free agents or trade candidates in search of a chance to win.

That said, according to ESPN's Tim MacMahon on The Hoop Collective Podcast, there is potential holdup for players around the league: Doncic's ball-dominant style. There are NBA players who don't want to share the court with Doncic because of how often he handles the rock.

"As great of a player as Luka is, and we just talked about him being one of four legit MVP candidates this year, he is as ball-dominant as any player in the league, and there are guys around the league, I'm sure you guys have both talked to players, who don't necessarily want to play with Luka because of that."

That is a harsh reality the Mavs will face as Mark Cuban and the front office attempt to build a contender around Doncic. Dallas managed to convince Kyrie Irving to stick around long term, but Irving's options were limited for self-inflicted reasons. The Mavs attempted to land Kyle Kuzma at the trade deadline, but he asked the Wizards front office to hold off because of "misaligned timelines." Maybe we can read between the lines here. Kuzma enjoys a major role in Washington — a role he simply wouldn't maintain as Luka's running mate in Dallas.

Doncic is averaging 34.3 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 9.6 assists on .491/.379/.775 splits in 37.6 minutes for the Mavs. His 35.7 percent usage rate currently leads the NBA. While Doncic can make life easier on teammates with his unmatched gravity and preternatural gift for passing, he dribbles a lot. It's not terribly dissimilar to the James Harden condumdrum in Houston, and it's clear players around the league are taking note.