Ex-Mavs exec rips club's dramatic 'high school' workplace culture
Haralabos "Bob" Voulgaris, the Dallas Mavericks' former director of quantitative research and development, described the club's workplace culture as "high school drama" in his first interview since leaving the organization.
The ex-Mavs executive reportedly significantly influenced personnel decisions on the team but had a strained relationship with former president of basketball operations and general manager Donnie Nelson.
"I never actually wanted to be the guy in charge until it became clear that the guy in charge didn't want me around," Voulgaris told Pablo Torre on the "ESPN Daily" podcast, according to ESPN's Tim MacMahon. "And then I was like, 'Oh, OK, now it's competitive.' ... But when it became personal, like then the competitive part of me started to kind of kick in. Like, 'Oh, this guy wants me out of here.' It never became obvious that he wanted me out of there. You can just read between the lines a little bit.
"Just to be very clear, the first two years or whatever, Donnie was very pleasant around me when I was there. It's just, you hear certain things, you learn certain things, you're told certain things. It was a very gossipy workplace, very gossipy. It was like a sewing circle over there."
Voulgaris also confirmed reports of tension with star Luka Doncic, who felt Voulgaris quit on the team when he left his courtside seat early during a contest last April against the New York Knicks.
The 46-year-old routinely went to his office late in games and was furious that nobody within the organization clarified that with Doncic.
"I just went to my desk to look at something on my computer or got up because I normally get up," Voulgaris said. "There are plenty of other instances of me getting up in the middle of the game. I mean, why does it matter? It's not like I went home and started crying because we lost or threw a temper tantrum. I watched the game from my office on the TV.
"It was such a non-event that I didn't think it was a big deal, and the fact that it became a big deal led me to believe that this is just not worth it to me."
Voulgaris, who team owner Mark Cuban hired five years ago, chose not to return after his contract expired before the 2021-22 season.