Dallas desperately needed a second star and shot creator to go next to Luka Dončić.
They got one — Mark Cuban has always been willing to take risks to win. The question about how long this can last comes later.
The Nets are trading Kyrie Irving to the Dallas Mavericks for Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith, their unprotected 2029 first-round pick their 2027 and 2029 second-round picks, according to multiple reports.
Irving is reportedly “ecstatic” to make the move to Dallas (the hard questions about a future contract will wait until after the season).
Kyrie Irving is said to be “ecstatic” about the trade to Dallas Mavericks and “looking forward” to joining forces with Luka Dončić, a league source tells @NBAonTNT, @BleacherReport.
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) February 5, 2023
Irving reportedly will land in Dallas Monday, take the standard post-trade physical, and could be available for the Mavericks on Wednesday against the Clippers.
Brooklyn had several suitors to choose from but wanted in return players it could slot in around Kevin Durant now (or, once he is healthy and returns) so they could still have a puncher’s chance to win the East. Dinwiddie gives Brooklyn a point guard and shot creator who can play some off the ball — and he returns to Brooklyn, where he made a name for himself in the league. Finney-Smith is a coveted two-way wing who can step in right now. Plus, the Nets add some potentially valuable picks down the line.
That offer gave the Nets more win-now possibilities than they got out of the Lakers’ offer (two future first-rounders and Russell Westbrook) or what the Suns and Clippers put in the mix.
There are questions for Dallas, but ones they believe they can answer — elite talents figure out a way to make it work on the court. Off the court, it helps that both coach Jason Kidd and former Nike executive turned Mavericks GM Nico Harrison have strong relationships with Irving. That’s a start.
The pairing of Dončić and Irving should lead to games and stretches where they look brilliant, but the question is not the highs but the lows — how deep and how prolonged will those be? Irving works well off the ball (as he has done with Durant and LeBron James) and should be able to play off Dončić. However, can Dončić play well off the ball when Irving is hot? Do the Mavericks — with Tim Hardaway Jr., Christian Wood, Maxi Kleber, Reggie Bullock and the rest — have enough around their two stars to be a serious threat in the West? Off the court, can the very different personalities of Irving and Dončić mesh, or at least work well enough not to be a distraction?
The biggest question: Do Cuban and the Mavericks really want to re-sign Irving for the four-years, $198.5 million he demands at the end of the season? There are reports that Dallas (like every other front office in the league, including Brooklyn) is hesitant to do a long-term deal with Irving that gives him that kind of guaranteed money.
But that is a concern for the future — Dallas got its second star. It has vaulted itself into the upper echelons of the Western Conference and positioned itself to contend.