Luka Dončić (center) and the Mavericks bench watch on during the game against the Chicago Bulls.
Tim Heitman/Getty Images
The Dallas Mavericks were fined $750,000 for “conduct detrimental to the league” after resting All-Star Kyrie Irving and several other role players during a game against the Chicago Bulls on April 7, the NBA announced Friday.
The team’s leading scorer for the season, Luka Dončić, played only in the first quarter of the game.
“The Mavericks violated the league’s player resting policy and demonstrated through actions and public statements the organization’s desire to lose the game in order to improve the chances of keeping its first-round pick in the 2023 NBA Draft,” the NBA said in a statement.
“The league did not find that the players who participated in the game were not playing to win.”
On Friday, the Mavericks sat Irving (right foot injury recovery), Maxi Kleber (right hamstring injury recovery), Christian Wood (rest) and Josh Green (rest) in the 115-112 loss to the Bulls despite the team still being in contention for a spot in the Play-in.
TORONTO, CANADA – APRIL 12: DeMar DeRozan #11 of the Chicago Bulls embraces his daughter before the game against the Toronto Raptors during the 2023 Play-In Tournament on April 12, 2023 at the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Mark Blinch/NBAE via Getty Images)
Mark Blinch/NBAE/Getty Images
The Mavericks entered that game tied with Chicago for the 10th-best lottery odds in the 2023 NBA Draft.
However, Dallas owes the New York Knicks a top-10 protected first round as part of the trade for power forward and center Kristaps Porziņģis, who has since been dealt to the Washington Wizards.
If Dallas’ pick falls in the top 10, the team gets to keep it; if it falls outside of that, it goes to the Knicks.
With the defeat against the Bulls, Dallas was unable to reach the postseason.
NBA Executive Vice President Joe Dumars said the Mavericks “failed our fans and our league” against the Bulls.
“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,” Dumars added.
Kyrie Irving walks off the court after the Mavericks’ loss to the Chicago Bulls.
Jerome Miron/USA Today/Reuters
The Mavericks declined to comment on the investigation when it was announced, and head coach Jason Kidd said the decision to rest players was made by his “bosses” – owner Mark Cuban and general manager Nico Harrison.
Anticipation is high ahead of this year’s NBA Draft, which takes place on June 22, with highly-rated 19-year-old Victor Wembanyama likely to be the top pick.