Doncic, the golden boy: 207 million for five seasons

The Mavericks star accepts the super max contract he had on the table. Nowitzki and Kidd, among others, traveled to Slovenia for it.


When a franchise owner, his coach and his most emblematic player travel to another country in search of a firm, it is because they have something very special on their hands. Luka Doncic is already golden. The Slovenian player, after falling in the fight for the Olympic Games medals, has accepted the contract extension he had on the table: 207 million for the next five seasons, according to Adrian Wojnarowski. It was an open secret, but now it is a fact. Dallas Mavericks have achieved their goal. It seemed difficult that he could escape, but, anyway, he left no room for error. This Monday, a delegation made up of Mark Cuban, Jason Kidd, Dirk Nowitzki, Nico Harrison and Michael Finley landed in Ljubljana to clear up the remotest doubt. Respectively, owner, coach, special advisor, general manager and operations assistant. All the heavyweights of the Mavs to convince the player that, in the coming years, they hope he will take them to the top again.

The signed pairing is about a rookie super maximum: the highest sum of money that, at this point, Doncic could aspire to. Until last season, the Slovenian player had pocketed 22.1 million dollars: 6.5 in his first year, 7.6 in the second and 8 in the third. The next one, it will enter 10.1 million more and, from 2022-23, the new contract will come into force. Broken down by years, it will reach 41.4 million on average. Specifically, the agreement would be around 34.7 in its first subscription and 45.9 in the last, according to figures from journalist Marc Stein (The New York Times). This will be the direct consequence of the NBA's budget rules. Not every player, at Doncic's age, can reach such monetary heights. In fact, the Slovenian will be the first to do so in all of history. Just over a week ago, Trae Young, his main generational competitor, signed a renewal of identical figures, but which are not insured.

Conditions to reach 207 million

To qualify for this, or similar numbers, various specificities must be met. In the first place, to be chosen in a high position in the Draft, since these determine the salary ceiling of the first years in the competition. From here on, any rookie contract that is five years (must be done under Designated Player status) is divided in the same way. For starters, it includes a two-year guarantee. The third and fourth, meanwhile, contain unilateral options for the team and the fifth, finally, puts the player in restricted free agent status. The latter, however, can be canceled with an extension at the end of the third season. In Doncic's case, the present extension of 207 million. To achieve them, in the second place, another conditioner must be given, which starts from two options, which allow going from a maximum contract to a super maximum. On the one hand, he may have been chosen MVP in one of the three seasons prior to signing; on the other, having been in the best quintets (first, second or third) in the NBA or being Defensive Player of the Year in the previous season or in two of the previous three. This second is what the Slovenian star fulfills, after being part of the Best Quintet in the 2019-20 campaign and also in the last (2021-22), which would be a sufficient condition. Young, for his part, to match him, must be part of the best team (or be MVP) next season.

With all this, the signature is a before and after. Both for Doncic and for the franchise and the competition itself. In the case of the Mavericks, it is the largest contract in their history, surpassing the 159 million dollars that Kristaps Porzingis obtained in 2019. In the NBA, a situation like no other: no other player had obtained a contract of this magnitude at such a young age. A few days ago, Stephen Curry became the first player in the history of the competition to sign two contracts of more than 200 million. This second, at 33 years old, is made up of 261 million for the next five years; the first, who reached 201, he signed at the age of 29 and became, at the time, the most important ever. Now, Doncic already exceeds that figure and, in the first extension of his career, already joining a very select club. Only Damian Lillard, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Rudy Gobert, Paul George and Curry himself had, so far, signed connections in excess of 200 million. Doncic, at 22, joins them. He is the golden child.

From the hand of Dirk Nowitzki

With Doncic's yes, the Dallas Mavericks begin to find peace after a long storm. After the elimination in the first round of the playoffs at the hands of the Los Angeles Clippers, the movements of the franchise began to happen to the rhythm of dominoes: one piece fell and, immediately, many others. An article published by The Athletic shook the tree and Donnie Nelson, director of operations, was the first to fall. Behind him, Rick Carlisle, the head coach. Both, present in the franchise's heyday, that of the ring in 2011, with Nowitzki as the top star. The German legend was turned to precisely to begin to straighten the course and, now, Doncic has signed his hand. He came in as a special advisor and has been involved in all the important decisions ever since. In the case of the extension of the Slovenian player, in addition, it has not only been an extra boost, but also an image of hope for the Texan fans. The witness of the greatest legend of the organization to the player called to succeed him on the throne. Or, at the very least, to give it a try.

That's the idea of Dallas and Nowitzki himself, who already considers Doncic better than he in his prime. And with that roadmap, the franchise is moving in the present market. While it is true that there has been no great effect (Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan or even Kawhi Leonard sounded), interesting pieces have landed. In principle, well suited to the needs of the team. Tim Hardaway Jr., Doncic's main squire in the playoffs, has renewed for 4 years and 74 million and, in the same way, Boban Marjanovic, who has a close personal relationship with the Slovenian, has also extended his relationship. Moses Brown, Reggie Bullock, Sterling Brown and Nate Hinton (dual contract) make up the new faces, with a considerable increase in the possibilities in the perimeter zone. They may be the first names waiting for a bigger move: "We need a second scorer," Cuban assured in June. The 'Doncic operation', providing a winning team to the point guard, is underway; but it had to start with Luka himself. The step has been taken and in the best possible way.

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