Goran Dragic Turned Down A ‘Cheerleading Role’ With The Mavs

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When the Mavs entered this offseason, the prevailing expectation was that Goran Dragic would finally land in Dallas as a free agent after years of the Mavs having reported interest in landing the Slovenian mentor of their budding superstar, Luka Doncic.

Dragic and Doncic’s close relationship has been well documented and the two were even spending this summer playing together for the Slovenian national team, but when the time came for Dragic to decide on his new home, he chose the Chicago Bulls over the Mavericks, which surprised many — including Dallas fans who have wanted Dragic in town for some time. It was hard for many to figure out why the Mavs wouldn’t have been in on Dragic talks, especially with him taking a one-year deal for the minimum.

The reason Dragic is in Chicago and not Dallas isn’t that the Mavs wouldn’t offer him a deal, but that the role they were extending was not what Dragic wanted. In an interview with Slovenian newspaper Vecer, Dragic explained that Dallas had offered him a “cheerleading role,” that would’ve seen him play sparingly, while the Bulls were offering him the chance to play 20 or more minutes a night — via a translation from Matej Sportinfo on Twitter (h/t Mavs Moneyball).

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That certainly makes sense for Dragic, as he’s clearly not ready to completely fade to the background as a player and just be in a mentor type role. For Mavs fans, it will be frustrating to find out this was the difference in him being in Dallas and not, particularly given they don’t currently have a clear initiator off the bench with Jalen Brunson leaving town. Frank Ntilikina provides a strong defensive option at point guard off the bench, but aside from Doncic and Spencer Dinwiddie, they’re lacking in strong offensive options. While Dragic may not be what he once was, he is still a capable offensive threat and to tell him they couldn’t guarantee him regular minutes seems rather strange, and if Dallas finds itself on the hunt for more point guard help during the season, fans will not be thrilled with how Dragic slipped through their fingers.

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