Mavs Fans For Life

Takeaways from Nico Harrison’s Interview on The Ticket

Ever since Nico Harrison and Jason Kidd have replaced Donnie Nelson and Rick Carlisle the main question Dallas Maverick fans have is will things really be different or can we expect more of the same but with new figureheads. The first big test Harrison is currently facing is free agency as it began several days ago. Last Thursday Harrison went on 96.7 The Ticket for an interview that was very insightful about how he operates and reasoning behind several of his decisions.

The first topic brought up was Haralobos “Bob” Voulgaris, if you’ll remember after the Maverick’s season ended reports began to surface about Voulgaris acting as a “shadow GM” in the organization. Voulgaris supposedly caused a lot of friction not only within the front office of the organization but with Luka Doncic as well. When asked about Voulgaris still being involved in the franchise Harrison said that while he has read about the situation, “I’m still trying to figure it out, my priority right now is the draft and free agency and after that we will focus on the personnel side of things.” Harrison stated that he worked closely with James Brocato for analytics assistance regarding his two priorities. After being pressed on the issue Harrison said that, “He [Voulgaris] is not physically here” and confirmed that, “I am not dealing with him.”

He is part of the organization still in some way?

“I can honestly say I don’t even know what his contract, so if he is on a contract maybe he is.”

The entire interview, this quote especially, made it seem like Harrison does not know what is going on in his own organization. While it is understandable to have your focus on an important free agency period, Voulgaris is also a very big issue for the franchise. One would think that when one employee creates so many rumors and issues you would like to figure out the truth to address the situation once and for all. Even if Harrison is dealing with personnel later, better prep for interviews would help put the franchise at ease as it is no surprise he was asked about Voulgaris. 

Following this they discussed what the structure of the front office was like and if it was like a “think tank.” Harrison responded saying, “I come from corporate america so in terms of how a normal team works I’m not sure but in corporate america everybody has bosses… It’s normal to have somebody above you that has an opinion on what you’re doing.” Obviously Mark Cuban is still going to be involved in the decisions Harrisons makes; it is only natural as the owner of the team but at what cost. We all know the stories about Cuban negatively interfering – most notably deconstructing the 2011 championship team. On a positive note when Harrison was asked about involving Doncic in decisions he said, “Whether it’s your coach or your superstar player giving people a voice and letting people have an opinion is important.” He went on to say he won’t necessarily do what they say but would like to at least hear them out. This is encouraging as transparency is important throughout this process and everyone being on the same page can only help.

When discussing free agency Harrison took a relatively neutral stance but did reveal one key detail.

How active do you anticipate you guys are able to be, do you feel like your hands are somewhat tied with the sky being the limit with salary cap and resources right now or do you feel like this summer can spark a few changes? “So I think two things one – I think the roster as it’s constructed gives us, I think, a good roster and I also think it was constructed in such a way that we have tons of flexibility so I think that if there is the right deal we will do it, if not I feel comfortable with who we have.”

This interview as previously mentioned was conducted prior to the beginning of free agency so it is understandable why he did not want to elevate expectations. Even so, this quote gives a large amount of confidence with last year’s roster. Unfortunately as Mavs fans know at this point not adapting is not going to get us further in the playoffs as they are coming off two consecutive first round exits. So far the Mavs have added Moses Brown, Sterling Brown, and Reggie Bullock as well as re-signing Willie Cauley-Stein, Tim Hardaway Jr, and Boban Marjanovic. This is a good start but most fans are hoping for one more big piece as Doncic needs help if he wants to make the Mavs real contenders. 

Overall it seemed that Harrison is not addressing major issues, will keep an open dialogue among key components, and has faith in the team as is. When it comes to discussing his cagey answers to Voulgaris, reading between the lines may imply that Cuban is keeping him on staff and does not want this to stir the pot more – but I’m just guessing. This aside Harrison has never been a general manager prior to this so at this point it is hard to tell how quickly he will learn the ropes.  The expectations are high and Harrison knows it saying, “that pressure is nothing new.” 

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