The Dallas Mavericks will be without Kyrie Irving, Tim Hardaway Jr., Maxi Kleber and Christian Wood in Friday's game versus the Chicago Bulls, which is a must-win to remain in play-in contention.
Luka Doncic, however, will play in the game as he went on record indicating he was not interested in sitting while they remained in play-in contention. Chicago will sit DeMar DeRozan, Zach LaVine and Patrick Beverley as they are assured of finishing 10th in the Eastern Conference.
"This is, frankly, just a transparent tank job," said Tim MacMahon on NBA Today. "The Mavericks decided they would rather prioritize lottery position than the slim chance of trying to fight for a play-in spot.
"I talked to somebody in the organization today and they said 'Look, as more games passed our destiny became bleaker and bleaker.'
"The one thing the Mavericks have potentially a little bit of control of is not their ability to get in the play-in, and by the way, they don't believe they're capable of doing anything in the playoffs if they did miraculously get there. They can have a little bit of control, perhaps, if they finish top-10 in the lottery odds. They are tied with the Bulls, who by the way are resting some key players today as well, for the 10th best lottery odds right now. Why is that so important? The Mavericks' pick is top-10 protected. They owe the New York Knicks a top-10 protected pick as the final payment of the Kristaps Porzingis trade.
"Look, this is a bad situation for the Mavs. The worst case scenario though is they land 11th in the lottery and that ain't their pick. That's going to Jalen Brunson's team up there in New York."