Just ahead of the NBA trade deadline, we saw the Dallas Mavericks make a bold move by acquiring Kyrie Irving, who is set for unrestricted free agency this summer. The idea was to pair the eight-time NBA All-Star with Luka Doncic, ideally forming one of the top dynamic duos in basketball.
Only that’s not what happened at all. The Mavericks instead struggled post-trade deadline, going just 8-18 to close out the regular season, just missing a chance at the NBA Play-In Tournament with Irving suiting up for just 20 games.
But it’s not like Irving was the problem. Having joined a new team mid-season, the 31-year-old point guard performed admirably.
- Kyrie Irving stats with Dallas Mavericks: 27 PPG, 6 APG, 5 RPG, 1.3 SPG, 51% FG, 39% 3PT
Related: Top 2023 NBA free agents: Best 100 available with positional breakdowns
But as mentioned, now Irving will be a hot commodity on the open market as one of, if not the best free agent available this offseason. Naturally, while the Mavericks’ trade didn’t work out in the short term, giving up a 2029 first-round pick plus Spencer Dinwiddie and Dorian Finney-Smith, Dallas would still like to retain the three-time All-NBA player.
If you listen to Jason Kidd’s most recent comments about Irving, the Mavericks coach doesn’t sound like someone who doesn’t want to continue working with the talented floor general, but he also knows there will be a demand for Irving’s services.
“I think he truly is happy here. I think he wants to be here, but that doesn’t guarantee us that he’s gonna stay. He has the option and the opportunity as a professional to look elsewhere because he is a free agent. So we’re going to do everything to keep him. It’s his decision, but we’ll see what that is. We hope that we’ve done everything to make him comfortable and want to be a Mav for life.”Dallas Mavericks coach Jason Kidd on Kyrie Irving’s pending free agency
With both the coach and the team owner on the same page about wanting Irving back in Dallas, one would like to think Irving’s return shouldn’t be too difficult. But again, the Mavs aren’t the only team in need of an impact playmaker next year.
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