Luka Doncic wore weird Mavericks shorts, a rainbow-clad hat and sunglasses fitted with a T-Shirt as he stayed Friday at the team’s training facility, completing his fourth NBA season.
Doncic’s clothing marks a holiday -ready and fun -loving superstar.
But the next few months he wasn’t going to relax.
During the Mavericks ’last interview this season, Doncic explained his summer schedule and how to balance his recovery from a Dallas defeat to the Western Conference finals with a commitment to play with the Slovenian national team – all while being a major voice in franchise personnel decisions and roster -building this offseason .
Time is running out to follow the Mavericks ’100 games in the 2021-22 season.
“Now I don’t think about basketball,” Doncic said with a smile. “At least three, two days off until basketball. Mental rest.”
Doncic’s early offseason schedule will look like this:
Travel to Slovenia soon.
It took about a week of basketball to rest the nagging pain and mental grind he was playing through this postseason.
National team training begins on June 15 before the World Cup qualifiers against Croatia (June 30) and Sweden (July 3).
He will reunite with the team in August to prepare for EuroBasket 2022, the 18 -day European championship that for the Slovenian group starts on September 1 in Cologne, Germany.
Several Mavericks on Friday spoke of their pride and disappointment over their three short wins to reach the NBA Finals this season. Doncic wants to lead the historic EuroBasket title defense in Slovenia and finish the offseason season by lifting another trophy.
“I would definitely say if I didn’t get hurt or anything, I would play for the national team,” he said.
Minutes after the last 5 games of the season the Mavericks lost Thursday night to the Golden State Warriors, Doncic gathered inside the Chase Center with some of the closest crew.
Father Sasa. Girlfriend Anamaria Goltes. Agent Bill Duffy. Dirk Nowitzki. Mark Cuba. Close friend and mentor Goran Dragic. Even the upcoming lottery draft pick Chet Holmgren.
It was then that he first looked at the offseason schedule and realized “it won’t be much time.”
Doncic expects July to include a much longer break than it did last summer when Slovenia advanced to Olympic qualifiers and the Tokyo Games began about a week after the Mavericks exit the first round, almost two months and finished about a month before NBA training camp opened.
Coach Jason Kidd said respite-more than an up-and-coming situation-is the biggest priority for the Dallas ’23-year-old All-Star this summer.
“We sometimes take for granted 23 means they can play every day, all day,” said Kidd. “But he needs a break. He deserves a break. The burden borne on this organization is great.
July, however, is also when Doncic will be the most business Mavericks to discuss.
He wants to stay abreast of decisions about roster moves – a “two -way conversation,” he said, with Kidd, Cuban general manager Nico Harrison and assistant general manager Michael Finley.
That’s exactly what they wanted.
Doncic has yet to dictate decisions or make special requests because his goal is to stay connected and provide feedback via regular text, phone and Zoom sessions while abroad – although sleeping on game day left him unaware of the Kristaps Porzingis trade. – news deadline end of February.
“We’re going to have a million things up on board, and we’re going to throw ideas back and forth,” Harrison said. “You see Luke, even though he’s good, he has a different point of view than I would like and maybe Fin and maybe JKidd, so we want to accept. Then we might have a different point of view with him, and we also want him to know .
“It’s a two -way street. I think you’re crazy to try to make a to -do list and not include the best players. That’s useless. ”
He made it clear to re -sign Jalen Brunson in free agency and then make the move to increase center production and recovery – in any way they can get around the salary cap and luxury tax limit – will be the Mavericks ’biggest priority this offseason.
Harrison sees less need for a major All-Star addition than he does to bolster his roster with established players who can underscore the other world-class skills he saw in his first year with Doncic. “I know he’s amazing, but he’s the next level,” Harrison said. “Like, he’s special. Like, he’s really special, and I can see that first in training camp. The way he can cheat the game, the way he sees the game, the way he sees things three and four more than anyone else, just a few people in the league who actually saw it.
“I know he’s really amazing, but I don’t know if he’s really amazing.”
Forgive Doncic if he is not ready to think so far.
Uber-competitive, Doncic is still sick of losing Game 5 and is thinking about what could have happened if Dallas had taken a 14-point lead over the Warriors in Game 2 to change the tenor of the series.
But the farewell message Kidd gave before meeting again this summer in Europe should start the Doncic season without a hitch. “We’re going to get better at this, and we’re going to learn,” Kidd said. “It just failed. It doesn’t feel like you’re late. The greats certainly fail and find ways to improve their progress to win the championship.