Only two days after superstar point guard Kyrie Irving requested a trade from the Brooklyn Nets, Owner Joseph Tsai and General Manager Sean Marks have officially sent him and Markieff Morris to the Dallas Mavericks, in exchange for Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith, and draft capital that includes a 2029 unprotected first round pick.
What was made out to be a potential blockbuster in the making, gets shot down by Mark Cuban and the Mavs, with teams like the Los Angeles Lakers or Phoenix Suns being rumored to potentially trade Russell Westbrook or Chris Paul respectively to Brooklyn.
Did the best potential storyline come out of this trade? No. Was the package underwhelming? Maybe. Does it make the Western Conference 10x more interesting? 100%. Irving is reportedly ecstatic to be joining forces with Luka Dončić, and the NBA world is ready to see them go to work. Let’s take a deeper dive into the deal.
Brooklyn’s Grade: C+
Let’s address the elephant in the room. Brooklyn gave up a superstar without getting one in return. But what they did do is add depth to a team that already has contending pieces. They’ve built a team around Kevin Durant that allows the Slim Reaper to thrive as a clear number one option while having guys that can play make for him, hold their own on defense, and relieve opposing pressure with elite catch-and-shoot ability. Spencer Dinwiddie may not be the same player he was three years ago, but he knows how to put points on the board and Dorian Finney-Smith is a model 3&D wing that will be a nice addition to the SF room as well.
Ben Simmons, Nic Claxton, Yuta Watanabe, and Cam Thomas are all still very nice young pieces that are accompanied by the veteran presences of Joe Harris, Patty Mills, and T.J. Warren on the pre-existing roster. The Nets may not be as powerful as they once were with one of the most intriguing NBA big threes of all time, but I still really like their squad and for good reason. Irving wasn’t a positive presence in Brooklyn and has had trouble staying on the court during his tenure, telling everyone it was the best decision to part ways. Injuries are weighing down on them heavily as of now, so it will take time before this new unit gets to play with each other. Once that inevitably happens, don’t expect anything else but elite basketball.
Dallas’s Grade: A-
THANK YOU MARK CUBAN AND NICO HARRISON for finally getting Luka Doncic the help he deserves. The last straw that I believe should have woken up many NBA fans is when Doncic dropped 60 points, snagged 21 rebounds, and dished out 10 assists, but somehow managed to barely squeeze past a subpar Knicks team in an overtime thriller. Doncic scored 48% of his team’s points that night and had to work to the final buzzer to secure a win…shocking. In January, I wrote a New Year’s Resolution for the Mavericks that tasked Dallas with finding “a low-priced guard to facilitate the offense alongside Luka Doncic, and while it wasn’t low-priced, they did what I hoped they would. Irving is going to help this team in a multitude of ways, by not only adding elite scoring and finishing for a team that’s struggled in the paint this year but will also finally be the guy to alleviate the pressure off of Doncic
Every superstar could use a teammate that can play make for them and it’s evident that Irving is well-versed in that part of his game. This big two is a genuinely amazing pairing and I am seriously excited to see how far they’ll be able to go. The only downside of this trade is that since they couldn’t give up a superstar, they had to give up depth pieces that were key rotational contributors. Nonetheless, their lineup when healthy is solid:
PG: Kyrie Irving
SG: Luka Dončić
SF: Tim Hardaway Jr.
PF: Maxi Kleber
C: Christian Wood
Bench: Reggie Bullock, Dwight Powell, Davis Bertans.
If Dallas can make another move before Thursday’s deadline and acquire some defensive help, the Mavs can make some noise come playoff season. Huge props to their front office for making this deal happen. They won this one.
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