Kevin Durant Calls Out Kyrie Irving Following Mavericks Blockbuster Trade

Kyrie Irving Dallas Mavericks

Getty Kyrie Irving #11 and Kevin Durant #7.

Luka Doncic isn’t the first generational talent that Dallas Mavericks star Kyrie Irving has played with over the course of his career. Far from it, in fact.

Since entering the league in 2011, Irving has played with LeBron James, Kevin Love, Jayson Tatum, James Harden, and most recently, Kevin Durant.

Durant and Irving appeared on a crash course with the playoffs this season before the latter requested a shocking trade request one week before the deadline. And in his first statements since his own trade to the Phoenix Suns, Durant didn’t hold back about what Irving’s request meant to the Nets.

“It was a blow to our team,” Durant explained on Thursday. “It just took away our identity. He was a huge, huge part to what we do. His game — he’s a Hall of Fame player, a great, great player that can do everything on the floor, and we relied on that. So without him, we didn’t have a clear identity. So that was tough for me to stomach.”

Irving’s talent is unmistakable; his on-court presence, however, is mercurial. He seemed in a groove this season, having put last season’s COVID debacle and this season’s early turbulence in the rearview mirror. For a fleeting moment, it felt like the Nets might have stumbled upon a modicum of normalcy.

But without Irving in tow, Durant likely believed that the Nets were headed nowhere, even with a generational talent like himself at the head.

Christian Wood Heading for Mavericks Divorce?

Irving could be just the start of Dallas’ roster headaches. Christian Wood, once the team’s starting big man, has been relegated to the bench lately.

And according to Tim Cato of The Athletic, Wood may choose to leave Dallas this summer because of that demotion.

“Wood’s situation is more complicated: He’s a dangerous scorer who often doesn’t cover enough space defensively to warrant the coaching staff’s trust,” Cato wrote. “But the Mavericks remain in need of his minutes on this roster, even if Wood might not be thrilled with the limited bench role he’s been assigned and will almost certainly depart this summer.”

The news comes amidst reports from Cato that the Mavs also tried moving Wood and Tim Hardaway, Jr. at the deadline, but to no avail.

But fear not Mavs fans. If Wood doesn’t return, it might be just the sort of cap-saving move that could catapult Dallas into star-hunting mode.

Mavericks Eyeing ‘Superstar Stacking’ Trades This Summer

In addition to figuring out Wood’s long-term fit in Dallas, the Mavericks will also need to straighten out what to do with Kyrie Irving.

According to Yahoo Sports’ Jake Fischer, if Dallas was to resign Irving, then their next move could be using future draft picks to bring in even more star power.

“Using a 2029 unprotected first-round pick to land Irving will allow Dallas to move both their 2025 and 2027 first-round picks this summer, after the Mavericks’ 2023 selection finally conveys to New York as part of the 2019 Kristaps Porzingis deal,” Fischer wrote.

Much of the future, however, depends on how Irving and Doncic get along during the postseason.

“If Irving and Doncic manage to form the partnership Doncic and Porzingis never could fully cement, then perhaps the Mavericks will even take those picks and go shopping for an additional co-star for Doncic and Irving. Why stop at two alphas when you can chase a third? That has been the going order of operations for teams in the superstar-stacking business,” Fischer concluded.

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