Why the Rockets make the most sense for a Luka Doncic deal

Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks, Stephen Silas (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks, Stephen Silas (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

For Houston Rockets fans the 2021 NBA playoffs have presented an opportunity to observe NBA action from the vantage point of a fan, as the Rockets weren’t participating. This means Rockets fans have been able to avoid any and all drama and controversy, missing out on the usual reports of such and such player or coach wanting out.

We’ve heard rumblings about Kyle Kuzma potentially being on the outs in Los Angeles and even Milwaukee Bucks coach possibly being let go if the Bucks were to miss out on making the NBA Finals. But perhaps the biggest report came on Monday morning and it’s one that involves Dallas Mavericks All-NBA player Luka Doncic.

According to Tim Cato and Sam Amick of The Athletic, Doncic and Mavs executive Haralobos Voulgaris have developed a toxic relationship that could be viewed as unsalvageable. But it’s just an executive, so who cares, right?

Not exactly, as Voulgaris has reportedly gained the trust of Mavs owner Mark Cuban, and has reportedly been given control over the Mavs roster, per Cato and Amick. In addition, Doncic has reportedly feuded with Mavs coach Rick Carlisle also, which combined with the tension with Voulgaris has reportedly led to questions and concerns about Luka’s long-term future in Dallas.

Doncic will almost certainly sign a supermax contract extension this summer, which he’ll be eligible for once the All-NBA teams are announced, as there’s a guarantee that he’ll be on one of the three teams. If he truly is disgruntled, the Rockets would be wise to call the Mavericks about the 22-year-old guard, who is a generational talent.

What would it cost for the Houston Rockets to land Luka Doncic?

Keep in mind that Houston Rockets coach Stephen Silas previously coached Doncic during his stint with the Mavs as an assistant and Doncic gave a very strong endorsement for Silas, stating that he played a major role in Luka’s development. One would have to think that the Rockets would have to offer Christian Wood, the Milwaukee Bucks’ first-round pick that was acquired in the P.J. Tucker trade, and the Rockets’ top draft pick (in addition to salary fillers), which could very well end up being the first pick in the draft, depending on the outcome of next Tuesday’s draft lottery.

While this may seem like a steep price to pay, it’s likely simply what it will take to start the conversation. Mavs owner Mark Cuban will certainly not want to help the Rockets in any way, shape, or fashion, but acquiring a talent like Doncic wouldn’t come easy anyways.

Pairing Wood with Kristaps Porzingis could be beneficial for both of them, as Porzingis could slide back to the center spot, which would create matchup nightmares for opposing defenses, while also allowing Wood to play the power forward position, which is his true, natural spot. Truthfully the Rockets would be wise to give Cuban and the Mavs whatever they want, as regardless of what the asking price is, the Rockets would win such a trade, as the team that acquires the best player in the deal generally wins the trade, and Luka would by far be the best player moved.

Granted, if we’re being honest, there’s no way that the Mavs will simply move Doncic based on frustration and Mavs owner Mark Cuban has already disputed the report by The Athletic. But they have attempted to go all in, by making the move to bring in Porzingis and they find themselves in need of more roster overhaul..

If things do in fact reach a point where Luka insists on being moved, the Rockets could present an enticing offer to Cuban and the Mavs’ front office.

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