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Kyrie Irving, Dallas Mavericks don’t have ‘handshake deal’ for massive contract

When the Dallas Mavericks traded for Kyrie Irving back in February the expectation was that he’d re-sign with the team on a long-term deal during the summer.

Things have since changed to an extent in that regard. Dallas struggled big time after acquiring Irving, missing out on the playoffs altogether. Obvious questions have come up as it relates to his fit with franchise cornerstone Luka Doncic.

Despite this, a report surfaced back in May that Irving and the Mavericks had some short of a handshake deal that would have him return to Big D on a max contract once NBA free agency opened. Apparently, that’s not the case.

“I’ve heard there’s no truth to any reports that Irving has a handshake deal with Dallas on a new max contract for four years with a player option at this time,” Michael Scotto of HoopsHype on Kyrie Irving situation.

It wouldn’t necessarily make sense for Irving to commit to the Mavericks at this point in the process. Why not test the free agent waters and see what becomes available? He has no long-term relationship with Doncic or the Mavericks organization. Meanwhile, there’s still a possibility of reuniting with former teammate LeBron James on the Los Angeles Lakers.

Related: Kyrie Irving and the top 2023 NBA free agents

Kyrie Irving free agency decision unlikely until July

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Free agents can start negotiating with teams on June 30 with deals allowed to be finalized on July 6. Until then, we’re unlikely to hear anything real concrete on Irving’s decision-making process.

It’s important to realize that we’re talking about a true wildcard in Irving. His decision to request a trade from the Brooklyn Nets during the 2022-23 season coupled with his enigmatic off-court personality both add a new layer to that belief.

It was just recently that Irving addressed rumors surrounding his free-agent decision. Like we’ve seen throughout his career, the NBA champion did not hold back.

“I’m a free agent this summer, but I am in no rush to make a decision. The speculation around my name from all these individuals who be on TV and have these personalities, all these people that have platforms … When they speak on my name and they’re talking about potential teams that I’m going to, can y’all please, respectfully, stop paying attention to that.”

Kyrie Irving on rumors involving him in NBA free agency

Despite the issues we’ve seen surround Irving throughout his career, a number of teams would have interest in his services if he opted to truly test the free agent waters.

  • Kyrie Irving stats (2022-23): 27.1 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 5.5 APG, 49% shooting, 38% 3-point

We’re still talking about one of the best point guards in the NBA and a true difference maker. All things equal, and the Dallas Mavericks would also like to have him back.

As of right now, only five teams in the NBA have the projected cap space to sign Irving to a max contract. None of the five (Rockets, Magic, Spurs, Jazz and Pistons) are seen as title contenders.

This could very well lead to Dallas having to work out a sign-and-trade should Irving opt against re-signing with the team. Reportedly, it is not interested in acquiring another impending free agent in that of Lakers star D’Angelo Russell in a sign-and-trade. Dallas’ decision-making process in the back end could end up playing a huge role here.

All of this is the long form way of saying that Irving and the Mavericks don’t have some sort of agreement. While he could very well return to Big D, all options remain on the table.