Kyrie Irving Trade May Open Door for Nets to Land $215 Million All-Star

Luka Doncic, Zion Williamson

Getty Luka Doncic and Zion Williamson together in Paris in 2022.

Following the blockbuster trade that sent him from the Brooklyn Nets to the Mavericks on February 4, it has been a bit of a rocky start to the Kyrie Irving era in Dallas. The Mavs are just 1-3 in games he and Luka Doncic have shared the floor, and with Irving still set to become a free agent this July, the risk Dallas took in trading for him already looks greater than the potential reward.

If Irving does leave the Mavericks in free agency, Grant Hughes of Bleacher Report says it could make Doncic demand a trade from the franchise.

“Several unrestricted free agents—Frank Ntilikina, Markieff Morris, and Christian Wood, to name three—might technically be more likely to leave the Dallas Mavericks than Kyrie Irving this offseason. But the word “risk” pretty much demands that the eight-time All-Star the Dallas Mavericks acquired at the trade deadline occupy this space,” Hughes writes.

“It sounds hyperbolic, but the ultimate downside to the Irving swap is a Dončić trade request. And considering the way Irving has conducted business in his last three stops, would you really feel comfortable betting against another stint marred by unavailability and a messy divorce? No discussion of the Mavericks’ immediate future would be complete without acknowledging the combustability priced into the Irving experience and the franchise-altering fallout another burned bridge could produce.”

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Nets Primed to Land Luka Doncic or Next Available Star

Doncic is one of the brightest stars in the NBA and is viewed as one of the potential successors to be the face of the NBA once LeBron James retires. Needless to say that he won’t come cheap at all if the Mavericks make him available. But in terms of teams that would have the assets to acquire Doncic in a potential blockbuster deal, no team is more equipped right now than the Nets.

When you look at what it took for the Phoenix Suns to land Kevin Durant, they had to part ways with Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson, and four first-round picks. After July, Brooklyn will still possess most of the assets it took for the Suns to land Durant (Cam Johnson will be a restricted free agent after this season).

In addition, they recouped even more assets from the deal that sent Irving to Dallas, including an unprotected first-round pick in 2029 and valuable role players in Dorian Finney-Smith and Spencer Dinwiddie.

It is also worth considering the homegrown talent the Nets had on their roster before trading Irving and Durant. Cam Thomas and Nic Claxton have quickly come on this season and could be viewed by other franchises as players who could help jumpstart a rebuild.

With all of the assets that the Nets hoarded from trading Irving and Durant at the deadline, they can easily put together the best trade package to acquire the next big star to hit the trade or free agent market.

Chris Broussard: Mavericks Eyeing Anthony Davis Trade

One team Irving has constantly been linked to dating back to last summer is the Los Angeles Lakers. A report from NBA insider Marc Stein even stated that one of the “presumed objectives” of Nets owner Joe Tsai in trading Kyrie at the deadline was not to trade him to the Lakers because they were atop Irving’s list of preferred destinations.

According to NBA insider Chris Broussard, the Mavericks making the trade for Kyrie could be part of a bigger picture for them to land All-Star big man Anthony Davis.

“LeBron James is sending a message to Anthony Davis. AD is young, he’s 29 years old. And his situation this summer is going to be interesting,” Broussard said on the February 20 edition of First Things First on FS1.

“Dallas’ goal this summer is to move Kyrie to complete a sign-and-trade for Davis. If AD doesn’t play in the last 23 games, the Lakers would seriously consider that.”

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