Shortly after the Dallas Mavericks landed Luka Doncic via a Draft-night trade with the Atlanta Hawks, they knew they might have to wait a while to get him on the court. That continues to be the case for Doncic, the No. 3 overall pick of the 2018 Draft, but there seems to be progress on that front as well.
Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle spoke with reporters today as the Mavs gear up for the NBA Summer League opener against the Phoenix Suns tomorrow night (9:30 ET, ESPN). Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News reports that Carlisle is hoping Doncic can complete the next steps to become eligible to play soon:
Coach Rick Carlisle cracked open the door just a sliver that first-round draftee Luka Doncic could play in the MGM Resorts Summer League in Las Vegas, but said there still are numerous hurdles that need to be cleared.
Doncic has yet to participate in any live practices for the Mavericks for a myriad of reasons.
"He needs to have his buyout completed with Real Madrid, he needs a FIBA letter of clearance, he needs a physical and he needs to sign a contract," Carlisle said before the Mavericks headed to Las Vegas, where they open summer league action Friday against Phoenix. "We're getting close to getting those things done. But we're not there yet."
"He has not had a live practice yet, but he will be in Vegas," Carlisle said. "He is going to continue to ramp up his workload and there remains a possibility that he could play. But to what percentage I could guarantee that, I just can't. I'm not going to go there.
"But that's where things are. And remember, this guy just got done playing 10 days ago or whatever. This is the set of facts that we're looking at."
Shortly after Doncic was drafted, ESPN reported that the Mavs would likely hold Doncic out for the 2018 NBA Summer League because of concerns about overworking the rookie.
Doncic played last season with Real Madrid and led them to the EuroLeague title less than a week before the June 21 draft. Between FIBA play, Eurobasket, and ACB league games, Doncic has played over 150 professional basketball games the last two seasons.
"We've got to understand that he is 19," said Mavs coach Rick Carlisle after the Draft. "NBA stardom doesn't happen overnight. It's going to be a process, and we've got to protect him as well as be excited for him to get on the floor and do the things that he's done so well in Europe."
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