The wait is over: Dallas has a second star. The Mavs just acquired superstar point guard Kyrie Irving from the Nets, sending Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith, a first-round pick, and two second-round picks to Brooklyn in return. Dallas received forward Markieff Morris in the trade as well. The decision has sparked a wide variety of reactions within the Mavs fanbase, with excitement about his offensive abilities mixed with concerns about his defensive capabilities, attitude, and controversial history.
What the Kyrie Irving Trade Means for the Mavs
There’s no doubting the fact that Kyrie Irving is a certified offensive machine. The 6’2″ point guard is one of the best ball-handlers the league has ever seen, and his playmaking abilities are no joke either. This season, he’s averaging 27 points, 5 assists, and 5 rebounds a game on 49% field goal shooting. He’s also no stranger to playing with superstars; he’s played with LeBron James, Jayson Tatum, Kevin Durant, and James Harden throughout his career. Having a second superstar gives Luka Dončić the chance to run plays with someone who can convert his passes into points with ease. Furthermore, it takes a significant amount of the offensive load off of Dončić’s shoulders. With a second playmaker, Jason Kidd no longer needs to rely on just Dončić to run offensive schemes.
This move could blow up in Dallas’s face for several reasons, however. Since leaving Cleveland, Irving has had the opportunity to play with multiple generational talents. Yet, those stints all seem to end similarly: Irving requests a trade without warning and forces his way out. Meanwhile, his former teams always scramble to pick up the pieces. There’s nothing stopping that from happening in Dallas, and if it does, the Mavs may not recover for a long time.
Dallas’s defense is also worse off. The Mavs lost their best defender and wing option in Finney-Smith, and Irving isn’t exactly known for his defense. One of Dallas’s biggest needs heading into the trade deadline was a big man who could defend in the paint. Irving is anything but that. Sources say the Mavs “aren’t done making moves” so there’s still hope for a better defender in Dallas.
However, the biggest issue the fanbase has with this trade is Irving’s numerous controversial statements. His commitment to the flat earth and COVID vaccine conspiracy theories and harmful rhetoric towards the Jewish community cannot be overlooked. Does Dallas really want someone with such a problematic past to represent their franchise? Can they guarantee he will not continue to spread xenophobia and conspiracy theories as a face of the Mavericks? These are questions the Mavs and their supporters must grapple with as they weigh the benefits of his basketball abilities with the dramatic baggage he seems to bring everywhere he goes.
Only time will tell whether this move helps or hurts the Mavs, but one thing’s for certain: nothing will ever be the same in Dallas. As fans in Brooklyn, Boston, and Cleveland will tell you, expect some excitement, some very curious moments, and some frustration.