To put it bluntly, Kyrie Irving’s first three seasons with the Brooklyn Nets have been a failure up to this point. In the last two trips to the playoffs with him and Kevin Durant leading the way, the Nets have been eliminated twice without even making it past the second round. Once viewed as a team that was a lock to win an NBA title in the near future, the Nets have barely been able to stake their place as a middle-of-the-pack team.
Brooklyn faces a tough upcoming decision on an extension for their All-Star point guard. Irving can become a free agent this summer by opting out of the final year of his deal. And after playing just 29 games last season, Nets general manager Sean Marks and his front office are not sold on offering Irving a max extension. One Eastern Conference executive tells Ric Bucher of Fox Sports that if the star point guard does hit the open market in July, the Dallas Mavericks could make a run at him.
“While the Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks, and LA Clippers are reportedly interested in Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving if he doesn’t opt into the final year of his current deal and tests free agency, one Eastern Conference executive suggested that the Dallas Mavericks offer the best fit,” Bucher Writes.
“The reasons were fairly straightforward: their GM, their coach, and their star player.”
The GM also notes that Kyrie in Dallas would put him in a similar on-court position that he is currently in with Durant on the Nets. He won’t have to be the best player on the team.
“With Luka, Kyrie doesn’t have to be your best player,” the GM said to Bucher. “He doesn’t have to lead. But they do need a second scorer, and he can do that.”
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Kyrie Has Close Relationship With Mavericks GM
Kyrie going to the Mavericks would pair him with another incredible shot-making player in Luka Doncic and newly acquired big man Christian Wood. But aside from the roster, one of the most important factors in free agency is relationships off the court. The GM tells Bucher that Irving’s connection to Mavericks general manager Nico Mannion could aid in him choosing Dallas as his next destination.
“Mavericks first-year GM Nico Harrison apparently already has a strong relationship with Irving from his previous job as vice president of North America basketball operations for Nike, with whom Irving has had a signature shoe,” Bucher writes.
Kidd’s Ring as Player Could Earn Him Kyrie’s Respect
One thing has also come into question is Irving’s rapport with Nets head coach Steve Nash. Upon Nash’s arrival in Brooklyn, one of the first things Kyrie did was undermine his authority as head coach on Kevin Durant’s podcast “The ETCs”. ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith also recently revealed that Irving would hold private practices behind Nash’s back.
Though Nash and Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd are both ex-players turned coaches, Kidd has a championship, and Nash does not. That could make all the difference in Kyrie’s level of respect.
“One of the issues in Brooklyn is Irving’s apparent lack of respect for Steve Nash as a head coach,” Bucher writes. “While both Nash and Jason Kidd had Hall of Fame careers as point guards, Kidd has a championship to his credit — as does Irving — while Nash does not.”
The clock is ticking for Kyrie to make a final decision on his future with the Nets. He has until June 29th to opt into the last year of his contract.