Haralabos Voulgaris: Mavericks GM Donnie Nelson got upset, disappeared during 2020 draft


Since-departed Mavericks executives Donnie Nelson (who held the title of general manager) and Haralabos Voulgaris (who might have had more power) clearly had issues with each other.

Those came to a head during the 2020 draft, when Dallas picked Josh Green No. 18 and Tyrell Terry No. 31.

Prior reporting around that Mavericks draft focused on Voulgaris not including scouts in decision-making. Some scouts reportedly preferred Saddiq Bey in the first round.

Hindsight has not reflected favorably on Voulgaris. Bey, who went to the Pistons one spot after Green, made the All-Rookie first team. Terry has already gotten cut.

But Voulgaris shares a different version of draft day, one where Nelson is the primary villain.

Voulgaris on ESPN Daily:

Where was Nelson? Voulgaris:

This is a massive indictment of Nelson. If he were supposed to run the draft and went AWOL because he got upset, how the heck did he last another season on the job? That's a nearly unforgivable offense for a general manager.

For what it's worth, Mavericks owner Cuban has a history of showing too much loyalty to select employees.

Perhaps, Nelson has a different explanation for draft day. As Voulgaris detailed in the podcast - which I highly recommend listening to in full - he and Nelson communicated infrequently. Nelson could have been busy negotiating trades - maybe even to help Dallas get Voulgaris' preferred target, Haliburton, who went No. 12 to the Kings. If the problem were merely Voulgaris not understanding his own or Nelson's draft-night responsibilities, that'd fall on Cuban.

But this is presented in a way that makes Nelson look culpable.

Throughout the podcast, Voulgaris sounds like he wanted to be more respected within the organization. He wanted coaches to assure Luka Doncic that slights were only perceived, not real. Voulgaris wanted Nelson to value him more highly.

Yet, Voulgaris didn't go out of his way to make those scouts feel included. Was that necessary? Maybe not in terms making the actual picks. But a feeling of chasing a shared goal can go a long way.

Voulgaris certainly wasn't kind in bringing up nepotism. Nelson is the son of former Mavericks general manager/coach Don Nelson. Voulgaris doesn't get much credit for biting his tongue when he publicly shares his could've-said retort on a podcast later.

To be fair, Voulgaris also expresses empathy for Nelson. Whatever other problems existed, Dallas' power structure had a flawed design.

Which, like many of the Mavericks' issues, ultimately falls on Cuban.

More on the Mavericks

Haralabos Voulgaris: Mavericks had old boys' network Three things to know: Ugly start to Jason Kidd coaching era in Dallas NBA Power Rankings: The season opens with the Bucks, Nets on top

Haralabos Voulgaris: Mavericks GM Donnie Nelson got upset, disappeared during 2020 draft originally appeared on NBCSports.com


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