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Mavericks Rest Key Players, NBA To Investigate

Mavericks Rest Key Players, NBA To Investigate

The Dallas Mavericks were eliminated from playoff contention on Friday after a loss to the Chicago Bulls. Now, the NBA is probing Dallas to see if they rested key starters in hopes to clinch a lottery pick, which seemingly is the case.

Kyrie Irving did not play a single minute. Luka Dončić only played 12 minutes. Starters Christian Wood and Maxi Kleber didn’t get a minute of playing time either.

“The NBA commenced an investigation today into the facts and circumstances surrounding the Dallas Mavericks’ roster decisions and game conduct with respect to last night’s Bulls-Mavericks game, including the motivations behind those actions,” NBA spokesman Mike Bass said.

What’s The Motive?

Why would Dallas do this? Well, they may have seen the writing on the wall. They needed to win out in their final two games against the Bulls and Spurs. Dallas needed Oklahoma City, the team they were chasing, to lose their final match against a Grizzlies team who would most likely be resting their starters.

I get it’s unlikely, I do. They were on the outside looking in. With that being said, you absolutely cannot rest your starters in the team’s biggest game of the season.

Dallas traded their Top-10 protected first-round pick this year to the Knicks for Kristaps Porzingis, which has got to be one of the worst moves for any team in recent memory. The Mavericks were tied for the 10th odds in the NBA lottery. When they lost, the tie was broken and Dallas will most likely get that top-10 lottery pick, assuming they don’t win their final game.

Remember when the Mavericks were the fifth-seed in the Western Conference, with a 96% chance to make the playoffs on Feb. 10? That feels like centuries ago.

Nowhere To Hide

Look. This move is absolutely blatant and obvious. Dallas played the worst players on their roster and rested their best. Isn’t that the very definition of tanking? Everyone around the NBA tanks, that’s a fact. The teams that tank do it by constructing a bad roster, not by selling the final game of the season in hopes of a better draft pick. This is a really bad look for Dallas, and everyone knows it.

NBA fans know that the league is desperate to fix the tanking problem. They could very easily make an example out of the Mavericks and punish them heavily if they so choose.

I wonder who made this decision. It had to be owner Mark Cuban. I couldn’t imagine that head coach Jason Kidd would make a decision like this one, or even general manager Nico Harrison.

Okay, I can see the reasoning for doing this, I really can. However, what happens when the NBA comes to the obvious conclusion that this is tanking? I’d bet that the NBA will find out and likely punish Dallas. I really can’t see a situation where they don’t, due to the obvious nature of what went on on Friday. We’ve seen teams lose their first-round draft picks for less in the past. What if the NBA comes to the conclusion that this was in fact tanking, and then Dallas ends up losing their first-round pick anyway? That would be an even worse look for Cuban’s Mavericks.

You can’t predict how a league will carry out an investigation like this one. However, this one seems obvious to me. One can only speculate on the type of punishment Dallas will receive.

***

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