By Nick Grunewald, WC Reporter
MACOMB, IL – Two days after requesting a trade from the Brooklyn Nets, star point guard Kyrie Irving was moved to the Dallas Mavericks alongside Markieff Morris in a deal for Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith, a 2029 first round pick and two future second round picks.
For Dallas, this move is a clear sign they made a mistake letting Jalen Brunson leave over the summer to join the New York Knicks. A decision that has left the Mavs without a second star next to Luka Doncic. This trade changes that. It pairs Doncic next to his best running mate to date. No slite to Brunson, Kyrie is just different.
Dallas boasts one of the most efficient offenses in the league when Doncic is on the court. When he’s not on the court? It’s one of the worst offenses in the league and they are 1-7 in games he has missed. Irving is bound to change that as he comes into Dallas averaging 27.1 points per game and 5.3 assists per game.
In a packed Western Conference that does not seem to have a clear heavyweight, pairing Irving next to Doncic could help move the needle in the right direction for the Mavericks, a team who was two wins away from the finals a year ago.
Luka Doncic, one of the top players in the game, is under contract with the Mavs until the 2026-27 season. It is up to Dallas to show Doncic they can surround him with pieces to compete for a championship before his contract expires. This is one step in that direction.
We know Kyrie Irving is wanting a max contract and Brooklyn’s decision to not commit to that was the final straw that led to the trade request. Does Dallas have the intention of paying Irving the max when his contract expires this offseason? I’d say probably not. Reports have already started to come out that people inside the Mavericks organization see this move for Irving as more of a “rental” and are not committed to a long term contract for Irving just yet. It would be tough to commit to him on that type of deal after his track record across all his previous teams.
Irving won a championship with the Cavs in 2016. But after the 2017 season and three straight trips to the finals alongside LeBron James, he threatened knee surgery as a way to force his way out of Cleveland and to Boston. After getting traded and saying he wanted his jersey hung in the rafters of TD Garden and that he would resign with the organization the following offseason if the fans would “have him”, he decided to team up with Kevin Durant in Brooklyn despite having an offer to resign with the Celtics. During his time with the Nets he demanded two trades, took two sabbaticals for personal reasons and tweeted out a link to an anti-semitic film (which he later took down and apologized for).
Kyrie Irving has a track record that will follow him throughout the rest of his career in the NBA. He has a knack for making headlines. But despite what the media has said about Kyrie Irving over the past years, calling him selfish and a bad teammate, he is still a player favorite in locker rooms throughout the league.
Dallas will be skeptical about a long term deal with Kyrie Irving and all the off the court baggage that comes along with him. But Irving has shown the ability to keep things in check for short periods and the playoffs are only two months away. Trading away a young wing and future picks is always tough in today’s NBA. But, if Irving can keep it together for that short period of time and help the Mavericks to their first championship since 2011, then it will all be worth it.
For Brooklyn, it’s an end to the most disappointing super team in league history. Just two short years ago this team had Irving, Kevin Durant and had just made a trade for James Harden. The Nets went from title contenders to the overwhelming favorites.
Oh how times have changed.
Fast forward two years and this trio is down to just Durant as Harden was moved to the 76ers and Irving now finds himself in Dallas. The group only won one playoff series together as the three stars never got to spend much time on the court together due to injuries and off the court issues.
Though the trio of Irving, Harden and Durant was a gigantic collapse, the window in Brooklyn may not be closed just yet. They have a decision to make and they need to decide quickly. Do they blow it all up and trade Durant for a king’s ransom? Or, do they try and convince Durant to not demand a trade and do everything you can to make him happy?
The choice for Brooklyn is easy, you can not let a generational player like Durant walk out of the building without doing everything you can to convince him to stay. The problem is, it will ultimately be up to Durant if he wants to demand a trade or not.
Durant has already met with the Nets front office to discuss the direction of the team and his thoughts on the current state of the roster. Brooklyn will surely do all they can to try and keep their star forward for the remainder of his contract which has three years left on it.
But if Durant does decide he wants out, the Nets will have teams lining up around the block in pursuit of his services. Teams like the Boston Celtics and Phoenix Suns were linked heavily to the forward over the summer after he requested a trade, a request he later rescinded. Both teams have already been rumored to be interested once again as his future in Brooklyn is up in the air.