The team and management of Dallas Mavericks has been called out for having internal issues akin to a “high school drama.” The accusation at the Mark Cuban-owned team comes from an ex-executive who revealed the issues at the team in detail.
Haralabos Voulgaris is a former Dallas Mavericks director of quantitative research and development. During his tenure working for the organization, his influence increased and he described his time there as dealing with drama at a high school.
Voulgaris detailed the franchise’s issues like the not-so-friendly relations between himself and Mavericks’ general manager and president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson. Before the season, his contract expired and he had no wish to continue working for the team. Appearing on the ESPN Daily podcast, Voulgaris said the following about Mavericks’ issues:
“I wanted to be a part of something. I wanted to win basketball games. Changing the organizational structure of the Dallas Mavericks was never something I was interested in unless I was going to be the guy in charge, and I wasn’t even sure. I never actually wanted to be the guy in charge until it became clear that the guy in charge didn’t want me around. And then I was like, ‘Oh, OK, now it’s competitive.'”
Voulgaris said that eventually, he realized that he was wanted out of the organization and that’s when he started becoming competitive. He stated that the workplace was very gossipy “like a sewing circle.” Voulgaris said that he had little interaction with Nelson as he reported directly to Mark Cuban, even though he was technically reporting to Nelson in the organizational structure.
He also noted that no people were hired in prominent roles in the office during Nelson’s time as president of basketball operations. Voulgaris said that Nelson didn’t want any strong candidates working under him.
“I mean, I think Mark had this idea that maybe we could work together, [that] the stuff that he’s good at I might be deficient at and vice versa,” Voulgaris said. “[Nelson is] more of a, kind of like a wheeler dealer, like when you shake his hands, you want to make sure your rings are still there. Not in a bad way, but he’s that guy. He’s a deal maker. He’s a broker. My working relationship with Donnie Nelson was seeing him every once in a while and getting a fist bump. That was it. Whether it was a fist-bump text message or a fist bump in person, that was his thing. He was very nice and cordial to my face, [but] I think threatened by me.”
The workplace at Mavericks doesn’t sound too pleasant after hearing Voulgaris’ statements. He confirmed that Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic became hostile to him when Voulgaris left his courtside seat with 45 seconds remaining in a losing game against the New York Knicks in April. Doncic assumed that Voulgaris quit on the team. Voulgaris said that this was a non-issue that could have been dealt with easily because he often leaves the games to retreat to his office and nobody explained that to Doncic.
Eventually, Voulgaris moved to a remote work position as he didn’t want to be around the team anymore. He eventually didn’t choose to continue in his role after his contract expired.
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