STA, 10 August 2021 - Slovenian NBA star player Luka Dončić has signed a five-year, US$207 million supermax rookie extension with the Dallas Mavericks in what is the largest guaranteed rookie extension in NBA history and the largest sports contract ever in Slovenia. Dončić told the STA on Tuesday he will continue to play for the national basketball team.
"Thank you for all the hard work and this is just the beginning," Mark Cuban, the owner of the Mavericks, told Dončić at today's press conference in Ljubljana.
Cuban came to Slovenia to present to Dončić the formal offer and celebrate the landmark signing, bringing along with him a delegation of team officials from Dallas, including Mavs head coach Jason Kidd and the team's special adviser and former player Dirk Nowitzki.
Thanking the team and everyone who has supported him along the way, Dončić said: "This is an incredible day for me. I've never expected this. I dreamt of playing in the NBA as a kid and now I have signed this deal." He also said he had never doubted he would sign the extension with the Mavericks as he is very happy in Dallas.
Head coach Kidd said Dončić was a "special player, an extra set of eyes and ears" on the court. "He plays the game so easily, his imagination is incredible," he continued to praise Dončić's abilities and talent.
Recalling Dončić's arrival in Dallas in 2018, Cuban said: "We had an inkling he was good, but we never imagined he was this good." He also highlighted Dončić was an incredible professional and a great human being. "We want him to have the same type of Hall of Fame career as Dirk [Nowitzki] has had if not more," Cuban added.
The 22-year-old, who led the Slovenian basketball team to finish fourth at their debut Olympic basketball tournament in Tokyo, revealed the extension agreement was signed this morning at Ljubljana's Hotel Intercontinental, where the press conference was also held.
Asked about how he felt after signing such a massive deal, Dončić said he was still processing this. The extension, the biggest deal in Mavericks history and the biggest deal a Slovenian athlete has ever signed, will land him US$207 million or EUR 176 million. It also includes a player option in the final year.
He has also become the first player in NBA history to have signed the designated rookie max extension, a feat he achieved by being voted first-team All-NBA twice.
Cuban also touched on the coming NBA season today, saying: "I think we have improved our team considerably. We are all excited on going forward." Dončić meanwhile highlighted the importance of chemistry among players on and off the court, saying that was what led Slovenia to the fourth place at the Tokyo Olympics and what was needed in the 2021-22 season for the Mavs.
Dončić was drafted in 2018 as the league's third pick and was selected to the All-Rookie First Team. He also won the 2018-19 season Rookie of the Year. Dončić also made the All-Star Five of the Olympic basketball tournament and won the MVP fan vote.
He boasts an average of 25.7 points, 8.4 rebounds and 7.7 assists after playing 199 games in the NBA.