NBA fines Mavericks for benching Luka Doncic, tanking vs. Chicago

Apr 14, 2023, 10:09 AM

Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic, center, begins to walk off the court with teammates at the end ...

Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic, center, begins to walk off the court with teammates at the end of the first half of an NBA basketball game against the San Antonio Spurs in Dallas, Sunday, April 9, 2023. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

(AP Photo/LM Otero)

In a continuing effort by the NBA to eliminate tanking, the league on Friday announced a $750,000 fine against the Dallas Mavericks organization for resting players in an elimination game against the Chicago Bulls on April 7.

“The Dallas Mavericks’ decision to restrict key players from fully participating in an elimination game last Friday against Chicago undermined the integrity of our sport,” said Joe Dumars, NBA executive vice president, head of basketball operations. “The Mavericks’ actions failed our fans and our league.”

According to NBA findings, the Mavericks’ decision to bench guard Luka Doncic for three quarters and public statements by the team expressed a desire to lose the game in order to keep alive its chance to hold on to its first-round pick in the upcoming 2023 NBA Draft.

The team also sat Kyrie Irving, Tim Hardaway Jr., Maxi Kleber, Josh Green and Christian Wood for the entire game.

“The organization, they made this decision,” head coach Jason Kidd said before Friday’s game, later adding, “we have to go by that.”

The draft pick in question is a top-10 protected pick that would otherwise be shipped to the New York Knicks as part of a trade that sent Kristaps Porzingis to New York in 2019.

The loss to Chicago improved Dallas’ odds of ending with a top-10 pick from less than 9% to 79%.

Now the Mavericks have a 3% chance to win the first overall pick and 13.9% chance to finish with a top-four pick.

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