Blockbuster Trade Sees Mavericks Land $136 Million Playmaker

Luka Doncic Dallas Mavericks

Getty Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks.

The Dallas Mavericks still feel like at least one piece away from making a real run. The good news: there will likely be no shortage of players available come trade season. The great news: the Western Conference is wide open, meaning that if Dallas plays its cards right, there’s no reason not to expect them in the contention conversation.

One of the areas Dallas could stand to improve is in the playmaking department. That’s no knock against Doncic — he’s off to a blistering start to the season. But so far, all of Dallas’ hopes rest squarely on Doncic’s shoulders; after his 8.1 assists, the next highest Maverick is Spencer Dinwiddie, at 4.7 assists per night. Ditto for points: Doncic is at 34.3 per night while the next up (again Dinwiddie) is far behind at 18.5.

Could the Mavericks look to buy low on Kyrie Irving, the disgraced Brooklyn Nets guard? According to Greg Swartz at Bleacher Report, the answer is a resounding yes. He’s the trade Swartz put together:

Dallas Mavericks Receive: PG Kyrie Irving

Brooklyn Nets Receive: SG Tim Hardaway Jr., C Dwight Powell

How Dallas Might Approach This Trade

Swartz succinctly summarized the basketball reasons why the Mavericks might say yes to this deal.

“Dallas needs another ball-handler and scorer to turn to when Doncic and Spencer Dinwiddie need a rest or inevitably miss games. Among players who could become available, no one is more talented than Irving.

“Getting the seven-time All-Star via Brooklyn would give the Mavs the most lethal offensive backcourt in the NBA and allow Dinwiddie to return to a sixth-man role. Both Irving and Doncic can operate with or without the ball in their hands, with defenses being unable to double now that both are on the court.”

Yes, a Doncic-Irving backcourt combo would be gangbusters, if it was 2018. That was the last season that Irving appeared in at least 67 games. Since then, Irving has missed significant time with injury, refused to get the COVID vaccine, and, more recently, a team-imposed suspension after Irving circulated an antisemitic film on social media and was slow to apologize.

While he would solve a major playmaking crisis, the simple truth is that Irving has to actually be on the floor for that to happen. And only appearing in 111 games since 2019 is not a major vote of confidence on that front.

Are the Mavs Eying Other Nets Players?

But Irving isn’t the only Brooklyn Nets player recently linked to the Lone Star State. According to one Western Conference executive who spoke with Heavy Sports’ Sean Deveney, the Mavericks are a team to keep an eye on for Nets star Ben Simmons.

“Dallas is a team to watch, Simmons would be an interesting fit next to Luka (Doncic) if the Nets were willing to take back (Tim) Hardaway and (Davis) Bertans. I am not sure how much higher the Mavs could go in terms of an offer but that would definitely be interesting for Luka.”

Like Irving, Simmons is hardly a guaranteed commodity. The former No. 1 overall pick comes with baggage of his own and is in the midst of his worst season since entering the league. In theory, Simmons’ defense and playmaking would help out a Mavericks team that could always use a little more of both. But, like Irving, the Mavericks would be taking a massive gamble that their culture could withstand the fissures coming with this type of move.

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