Tim McMahonESPN staff writer2 minute reading
The NBA will investigate the Dallas Mavericks’ decision to leave several key players out of the Chicago Bulls in Friday night’s 115-112 Western Conference play-in contest.
“The NBA today opened an investigation into the facts and circumstances surrounding Dallas Mavericks roster decisions and game conduct related to last night’s Chicago Bulls-Mavericks game, including the motivations behind those actions,” NBA spokesman Mike Bass said Saturday afternoon.
Dallas entered the day tied with the Bulls for the 10th-best lottery odds and owed the New York Knicks a top-10-protected pick as the final payment for the Kristaps Porzingis trade.
Mavs coach Jason Kidd called it an “organizational decision” to rest much of Dallas’ regular rotation, attributing the choice to governor Mark Cuban and general manager Nico Harrison.
The Mavs announced Friday morning that All-Star guard Kyrie Irving (right leg injury recovery), shooting guard Tim Hardaway Jr. (strained left ankle), small forward Josh Green (rest), and power forward/center Maxi Kleber (right hamstring) are out. . injury recovery) and Christian Wood (rested) will all sit out against the Bulls, mainly for precautionary reasons.
All-Star guard Luka Doncic played the first 12 minutes, 35 seconds.
“It’s not so much waving the white flag,” Kidd said after the game. “Decisions are sometimes difficult in this business. We’re trying to build a championship team. With this decision, it’s a step back. But it’s a step forward.” The Mavs don’t plan to play Danczyk or any of the other players who sat out in Sunday’s season finale against the San Antonio Spurs, Kidd said.
Mavs governor Mark Cuban, who paid a $600,000 fine for publicly admitting the Mavs were tanking in 2018, said Wednesday night that “certainly I understand” the fans’ thought process that protecting lottery position was a smart strategy for Dallas. “Guys don’t want to do it,” Cuban said Wednesday. “Players don’t do that, players don’t do that.” Cuban did not respond to requests for comment regarding the organization’s decision to eject several players or the league’s investigation.