The Dallas Mavericks will enter training camp in late September looking to redeem themselves after a disappointing 2022-23 NBA season. Following the All-Star break and Kyrie Irving trade, the Mavericks plummeted from fourth place in the Western Conference standings to not even qualifying for the play-in tournament.
Now, with the All-Star tandem of Kyrie Irving and Luka Doncic entering their first full season as teammates and a new-look roster, it is time for Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd to deliver, according to The Washington Post’s Ben Golliver.
“Kidd’s reputation was in a much different place after he guided Dallas to the 2022 Western Conference finals, but the stink of last year’s tank into the lottery turned that success into a distant memory,” Golliver wrote in a story published August 28.
Kidd is also on the hot seat because the door is open for the Mavericks’ worst nightmare to become a reality: Luka requesting a trade from the franchise.
“If Doncic were to sour on Dallas and request a trade, he could shake up the NBA like LeBron James did in 2010 and Kevin Durant did in 2016,” Golliver wrote.
“That puts Kidd in a major bind: He must improve Dallas’s 25th-ranked defense and get Doncic and Irving to make each other better. Or else.”
Luka Doncic With a Costar Has Not Been Successful
A trade request by Doncic, who is under contract through the 2025-26 season with a player option after that, doesn’t seem likely, but it does appear that yet another failed costar experiment could be on the horizon. Dallas tried it once with Kristaps Porzingis when they acquired him from the New York Knicks in 2019, but the star duo never made it out of the second round.
The Mavericks traded Porzingis in 2022 to the Washington Wizards for added depth after acquiring serviceable role players such as Spencer Dinwiddie and Davis Bertans. It turned out to be the most successful experiment of Luka’s tenure as Dallas advanced to the Western Conference finals for the first time since 2011.
The Mavericks pivoted from the strategy at last season’s trade deadline, shipping away much of their depth to the Brooklyn Nets to acquire All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving but going on to miss the postseason.
Mavericks’ Roster Construction Put Under Microscope
Luka and Kyrie are generational players — individually. But that doesn’t guarantee that they will mesh well together as costars. They missed the playoffs after a third of a season together, and some are expecting a better sequel from the All-Star duo. The Post’s Golliver, however, wrote he wasn’t sold on the idea that Irving and Doncic having more time to prepare will automatically equal success, especially given that the Mavericks have not done a particularly great job building a supporting cast around them.
“It’s as simple as this: Luka Doncic missed the playoffs in 2023, and that can’t happen again,” Golliver wrote. “The Mavericks revealed their desperation to build a winner around their 24-year-old franchise player by trading for Kyrie Irving, and they confirmed it when they agreed to re-sign the mercurial guard to a three-year, $126 million contract this summer.
“No matter that Doncic and Irving didn’t function particularly well together, or that Dallas’s remade front line still doesn’t look up to snuff.”