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NBA Rumors: Luka Dončić Entered ‘Season with a Load Management Plan’ by Mavericks

NBA Rumors: Luka Dončić Entered ‘Season with a Load Management Plan’ by Mavericks

DALLAS, TEXAS - APRIL 07: Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks reacts after being fouled in the first half against the Chicago Bulls at American Airlines Center on April 07, 2023 in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Tim Heitman/Getty Images)

Tim Heitman/Getty Images

The Dallas Mavericks reached the Western Conference Finals last season and entered the 2022-23 campaign with championship hopes. After the free-agency departure of Jalen Brunson, they reportedly thought they could get away with some extra rest for Luka Dončić without having to worry about their playoff chances.

According to Tim Cato of The Athletic, Dallas was concerned about its overrelliance on Dončić without Brunson “before the season even began, and it had been decided, team sources said, that Dončić would enter the season with a load management plan after a short summer caused by the extended postseason run and his extensive national team duties for Slovenia. But Dallas quickly realized that the team relied on him to win more than it had imagined.”

Yet Dončić set a career high with 36.2 minutes per game and played his second-most games in a year, 66. Rather than competing for a spot atop the Western Conference, the Mavericks were fighting for their postseason lives by the end of the campaign.

They didn’t even reach the play-in tournament despite adding Kyrie Irving to the backcourt Feb. 6.

Sometimes the best laid plans go off course, and that is what happened for Dallas as it finished the season with a 7-18 stretch. Irving is set for free agency this offseason, and the pressure will be on the front office to build a winner around Dončić.

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