In a recent Bleacher Report article, the idea of a possible blockbuster trade between the Mavs and Nets was floated that would send Kyrie Irving to Dallas. In return the Mavs would send Kristaps Porzingis and Jalen Brunson back to the Nets. The Mavs would also get 2021 first round pick Day’ron Sharpe.
Normally, there is no way the Nets would consider dealing away Irving, who came to the team with Kevin Durant in the summer of 2019. But because Irving plays in New York, where indoor performers have a vaccine mandate, and because Irving is not vaccinated, he would not be allowed to play in home games. The Nets just asked that Irving remain away from the team until he is vaccinated or until the city mandate is lifted.
With that in mind, a trade to the Mavs, who are desperate to add star power, would be more understandable.
The Basketball Side of the Trade
From a basketball perspective, the deal makes a lot of sense. Irving and Doncic could thrive playing off of each other, creating space and driving lanes. Also the addition of Irving would lighten the load on Doncic and make the team not as reliant on him. Sharpe could give the Mavs some needed size depth on the interior and they could give him something he hasn’t been getting in Brooklyn, minutes.
Besides Porzingis the Mavs have not gotten much out of their post players this season. Dorian Finney-Smith, Max Kleber, Dwight Powell and Boban Marjanovic have all averaged between five and nine points per game so far this season. With more minutes Sharpe could possibly help fill that void.
The move also makes sense for the Nets, they’ve played well with Irving and could move him somewhere that he can play while getting helpful pieces in return. Porzingis would give the Nets size and the ability to stretch the floor, which would create more space for Durant and Harden. Brunson has been enjoying a breakout season and could slide in nicely next to Harden.
The Off-Court Issues
The biggest possible hang-up in any deal involving Kyrie Irving however has nothing to do with basketball. Ultimately any team that wants to take Irving has to determine if it’s worth the risk or if they feel like they can trust him. Also Irving would have to agree to the trade, which at this point, who knows what Irving is thinking? He hasn’t requested to be traded and there hasn’t been much news out of him since the start of the season.
The latest report out of the Nets involving Irving is that they are giving him his space, but hadn’t heard anything on a possible return. We haven’t heard that Irving doesn’t want to play this season, but it’s fair to wonder where is his head is at now. Also what kind of shape is he in after not playing in a game all season?
Through the last two free-agency cycles the Mavs have failed to land significant help for Doncic. After his emergence over the last couple of seasons it’s fair to wonder if the Mavs are a desirable team for players in free agency. It’s also clear that Dallas can’t compete for a title as currently constructed.
So, is it time for the Mavs to take a risk and swing for the fences? My guess is they’d decide against this deal unless they get a big vote of confidence from Irving himself. The reality is there are just so many unknowns in any deal involving Irving.
There’s no question the Mavs should make a move this season in order to become a serious contender. They also have to be cautious that whatever move they make that the pieces fit and don’t cause unnecessary friction with the team.