On Friday, Donnie Nelson, the Dallas Mavericks’ general manager and president of basketball operations, addressed the media to discuss the 2021 trade deadline, the acquisitions of J.J. Redick and Nicolò Melli, the buyout market and much more.
During this interview, Nelson was asked about how building around Luka Dončić compares to building around Dirk Nowitzki. Nowitzki spent his entire 21-year career with the Mavs and then passed the torch to Dončić, who is the team’s current franchise cornerstone.
“Man, it’s completely different,” Nelson said. “One guy is an open shot waiting to happen, and the other guy was a shot-taker and a shot-maker. I think, in terms of free agency, who doesn’t want to play with a Jason Kidd? Who doesn’t want to play with a Steve Nash? I think in terms of recruiting, it’s much better to have a ‘true quarterback’ that has the abilities that [Dončić] has.
“It’s ironic that two of the greats... when I saw Luka play for the first time, I’m like, ‘Man, that’s a 6-foot-7 Steve Nash that can shoot it and this and that and the other thing, but he rebounds like Jason Kidd.’ To have [a player who’s a combination of] two of the greats that were right here in Dallas, it’s going to make our recruiting efforts a lot smoother.”
In today’s NBA, where so many stars want to team up and play together, Nelson makes a good point. Dončić’s talent and style of play will likely make him an attractive running mate. If he’s willing to reach out to fellow stars and recruit them, that could really help the Mavs too. The fact that Dallas is the fifth-largest market in the NBA can only help the Mavericks’ pitch to marquee players as well.