Mavs Star Luka Doncic Predicted to Hit Trade Market After Kyrie Irving Gamble

Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks.

Getty Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks.

The 2023 NBA trade deadline has come and gone, and the Dallas Mavericks made one of the biggest moves of the year. They landed Kyrie Irving in a blockbuster trade with the Brooklyn Nets, landing an elite co-star to pair with Luka Doncic.

However, Irving is only under contract through the end of the season. And according to Grant Hughes of Bleacher Report, if the Irving experiment fails, Doncic could be one of the next NBA superstars to request a trade.

“When the Dallas Mavericks traded for Kyrie Irving, they admitted their desperation. How else can you describe a team giving up an unprotected first-round pick and two quality rotation players for arguably the least-reliable star in the league—one who isn’t even under contract beyond this season?

“It was a gamble made by a franchise that understood its most important player, Luka Dončić, does not have an endless supply of patience. Dallas had tried and failed to find Dončić a suitable star teammate several times over, and adding Irving is just the latest (and highest-risk) attempt. Prior to the deal, ESPN’s Tim MacMahon reported Dončić “strongly indicated he wants the Mavs to upgrade before the Feb. 9 trade deadline.”

“This might be the ultimate “be careful what you wish for” situation, and it won’t take long to see if that’s the case,” Hughes wrote.

And to make matters even worse, Hughes pointed out the possibility that, even if Doncic and Irving play well together, it may not be enough to break through in the tough Western Conference.

“Another possibility: Even if things go well this year, Irving and Dončić may not be good enough to contend in a West that got better at the 2023 deadline without more help,” Hughes explained. “If Irving re-signs this summer after a harmonious but ultimately unsuccessful season, it’d vaporize Dallas’ cap space, locking the team into the current roster for another year. Dončić could then decide the Mavs are still outside the league’s top tier even with a second star, and angle for an exit.”

De’Aaron Fox Sounds Off on Mavericks Playstyle

With Irving on the roster, the Mavericks’ roster got a major boost. And after the Mavericks’ latest win over the Sacramento Kings on February 10, De’Aaron Fox sounded off on Dallas’ playstyle with Irving.

“I know from numbers that they’ve played faster. I think they were either last or second to last in pace before these last two games,” Fox said via the Kings’ official YouTube channel. “They’ve been playing faster, so, if he’s (Doncic) back tomorrow, I mean I don’t what else we’re expecting. But, obviously those are two great talents (Doncic and Kyrie Irving) and even for this Mavs team, I think it was two years ago, where Luka got hurt in the playoffs and they still won some games. So, at the end of the day, this is a good and well-coached team who’s played without their superstar even in the playoffs and has won games. That’s a good team from top to bottom, no matter what, no matter who’s out there, and they come and they’re prepared.”

De'Aaron Fox Postgame Presser | 2.10.23De'Aaron Fox speaks to the media following a loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Feb. 10, 2023.2023-02-11T05:46:37Z

Christian Wood’s Future With Mavericks In Question

As for the Mavericks’ third star, Christian Wood, Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News reported that Dallas and Wood have still yet to get to work on a contract extension and don’t plan to until after the season.

“A person familiar with negotiations confirmed Dallas’ front office has not offered Wood a contract extension, despite recent national reporting to the contrary,” Caplan wrote. “Doing so would appear unlikely to benefit the Mavericks’ roster-building flexibility as they evaluate long-term prospects with the controversy-ridden Irving. Though fizzled extension talks with the Nets prompted his Feb. 3 trade request, Irving and the Mavericks do not plan to negotiate an extension to his contract until after the season. The Mavericks can offer Irving an extension of up to two years, $78.6 million before June 30. Should Irving opt to leave as a free agent — with no compensation back to the Mavericks — Dallas would look to newly opened salary cap space (projected to be about $25 million with Spencer Dinwiddie and Dorian Finney-Smith’s multi-year deals off the books) as their main avenue to adding other contributors around Doncic. Offering Wood an extension before then would cut into that potential cap space before the Mavericks could gain clarity with Irving or evaluate how Wood’s standout regular-season production so far translates, particularly on defense, in what should be his first career playoff run this spring.”

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