The NBA will investigate the Dallas Mavericks‘ decision to sit out several key players in Friday night’s 115-112 loss to the Chicago Bulls that eliminated the team from Western Conference play-in contention.
“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 Chicago Bulls-Mavericks game, including the motivations behind those actions,” NBA spokesperson Mike Bass said Saturday afternoon.
Dallas entered the day tied with the Bulls for the 10th-best lottery odds and owes 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 the majority of Dallas’ regular rotation, attributing the choice to governor Mark Cuban and general manager Nico Harrison.
The Mavs announced late Friday morning that All-Star guard Kyrie Irving (right foot injury recovery), shooting guard Tim Hardaway Jr. (left ankle soreness), small forward Josh Green (rest) and power forward/centers Maxi Kleber (right hamstring injury recovery) and Christian Wood (rest) would all sit out against the Bulls, essentially for precautionary reasons.
All-Star guard Luka Doncic played the first 12 minutes, 35 seconds before sitting out the remainder of the game.
“It’s not so much waving the white flag,” Kidd said after the game. “It’s [that] decisions sometimes are hard in this business. We’re trying to build a championship team. With this decision, this is maybe a step back. But hopefully it leads to going forward.”
The Mavs do not plan for Doncic or any of the players who sat out to play in Sunday’s season finale against the San Antonio Spurs, Kidd said.
Mavericks governor Mark Cuban, who paid a $600,000 fine in 2018 for publicly admitting the Mavs were tanking, said Wednesday night that “of course I understand” the thought process of fans that protecting the lottery position is Dallas’ smartest strategy down the stretch.
“The guys don’t want to do that,” Cuban said Wednesday. “Players aren’t going to do that. Players don’t do that.”
Cuban has not responded to requests for comment regarding the organization’s decision to sit out several players or the league’s investigation.