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NBA Rumors: Kyrie Irving Expected to Remain with Dallas Mavericks, Christian Wood Is Not

Kyrie Irving, Dallas Mavericks

The Dallas Mavericks were one of the biggest disappointments in the NBA this season after collapsing down the stretch. The Mavericks were expected to compete for a top-6 seed this year after making a surprising run to the Western Conference finals in 2022. But the Mavs, who had an over/under win of 45, could never fully recover from losing Jalen Brunson in free agency.

NBA Rumors: Kyrie Irving Expected to Remain with Dallas Mavericks, Christian Wood Is Not

Despite what an unknown Mavericks player described as an “F—ing Disaster” of a season, according to the Athletic’s Tim Cato, Dallas appears ready to bring back the band—or at least Kyrie Irving.

Dallas teetered around .500 most of the season. The Mavericks were as much as six games above .500 and were two games above the mark in early March. However, the Mavs’ closed the campaign by losing 13 of their final 18 contests to finish with a 38-44 mark. The franchise was fined $750,000  for “conduct detrimental to the league in an elimination game against the Chicago Bulls on April 7.”

Chemistry, injuries, and an ill-conceived roster were Dallas’ biggest issues. The Mavericks were guard-heavy and got minimal offensive scoring production from their frontcourt. The Mavs, who ranked 23rd in defensive rating, also struggled from the free-throw line and were among the worst rebounding squads. They ranked in the bottom three in assists and shot-blocking.

Dallas Mavericks’ Off-Season Plans

Dallas has just eight players under contract for next season. The Mavericks are well under the cap and project to have $21 million in practical space. The Mavs’ key free agents are Irving, Christian Wood, and Dwight Powell. Justin Holiday, Markieff Morris, McKinley Wright IV, and Frank Ntilikina are also free agents.

According to NBA Insider Chris Haynes, the Mavericks plan to restock its roster with wing defense and rim protectors to improve the team’s 23rd-ranked defense.

Haynes also said the Mavericks plan to re-sign Irving. Rival general managers also believe that the Mavs will do so, following the news that the Los Angeles Lakers have no interest in pursuing Irving.

“Kyrie was on great behavior — like he was doing everything to try to win over Luka and be a teammate. Every single player on that team and everyone in the organization loves Kyrie from his time there so far,” one GM told Steve Bulpett of Heavy.com.I do think there’s some skepticism going forward for what (the Mavericks are) going to offer him. Like, they’re not completely naïve.”

The Mavericks can offer Irving a four-year, $272 million deal, should they?

Should the Mavericks re-sign Irving?

Dallas went 9-18 in the 27 games after acquiring Irving from the Brooklyn Nets. Irving played in 20 of those contests, with the Mavs posting an 8-12 record.

Irving produced some strong numbers with the Mavericks. The 31-year-old  point guard averaged 27.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 6.0 assists, and just 1.7 turnovers. He made 2.5 treys a game while compiling a shooting slash line of .510/.392/.947. Irving, who went over 30 points seven times during this 20-game stretch, also had a +4.5 plus/minus rating.

All those numbers indicate that Irving was good for the Mavericks. The bigger question is whether he is a good fit alongside Luka Doncic.

That is still up for debate. Doncic and Irving are both at their best with the ball in their hands. Can Jason Kidd get either player to sacrifice for the team’s betterment?

Dallas was 5-11 in contests where Doncic and Irving played together. Doncic and Irving were fantastic offensively, combining for 57.1 points on around 50% shooting from the field and 13 assists, and five turnovers a game. The Mavericks averaged 120.6 points a game in the 16 contests the duo played together, which was three more points than they compiled in the 27 contests played following Irving’s acquisition.

However, Defense was a problem. The Mavs allowed 120 points, nearly two more points than they allowed since February 8. The biggest issue with the two was they struggled to guard the 3-point line, defensive rebounding, and fouling.

For his part, Doncic seemingly wants to play with Irving.

“I wish (Kyrie) can still be here (next season),” Dončić said.

The thing is, Irving doesn’t seem to mesh very well with other superstars. Irving and LeBron James won a title in 2015-16. But since then, he hasn’t been to the Finals despite teaming up with  Kevin Durant and James Harden, Jayson Tatum, and Jaylen Brown.

With the Mavericks intent on re-signing Irving and he is unlikely to draw much interest on the open market. Expect Irving to return to the team despite other rumors, particularly speculated trade rumors.

Christian Wood

While the Mavericks want Irving, they apparently are through with Christian Wood, Cato added in his article. Wood was the Mavs’ lone consistent frontcourt scorer this year. But he struggled defensively, which is his M.O., so it shouldn’t have been a surprise. Wood indicated the same with his cryptic tweet following the season’s conclusion.

After being a major role player to start the season and starting 17 games, the 27-year-old center was relegated to third-string down the stretch. Wood didn’t see more than 28 minutes for the Mavericks after March 15.

Wood had an average year, considering his career. He tallied 16.6 points, 7.3 caroms, and 1.1 blocks while compiling a shooting slash line of .515/.376/.772. Wood, who registered 12 double-doubles, scored at least 20 points on 25 occasions.

Defensively, Wood was average-to-below average for a terrible defensive team. He did a solid job defending the rim and rebounding the ball defensively. Wood struggled to defend the perimeter and posted a  -0.4 plus/minus rating and a -0.3 DPM rating.

However, the bigger problem could be his salary. Wood made $14.3 million this season in his final year of a three-year, $41 million deal. He is considered a top-five center available, so he could demand $15-$18 million a season.

If the Mavericks re-sign Irving, they will likely be in the luxury tax. Therefore, they will have very little money to toss at Wood. Expect Wood to be on a new team this upcoming season.

 

 

 

 

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