The Brooklyn Nets have traded Kyrie Irving to the Dallas Mavericks, according to NBA insider Shams Charania. The Nets are getting back Dorian Finney-Smith, Spencer Dinwiddie, an unprotected 2029 first round pick, and second round picks in 2027 and 2029 in the deal, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Irving requested a trade from the Nets on Friday after failing to reach an agreement on a contract extension. Irving’s current deal expires after this season. The Nets currently sit at 32-20 overall and No. 4 in the Eastern Conference on the day of the deal, while the Mavericks are 28-26 overall and the No. 6 seed in the Western Conference.
The Mavericks have been searching for another star to pair with Luka Doncic after losing Jalen Brunson in the free agency to the New York Knicks over the summer. The Lakers, Heat, and Suns were also rumored to be interested in Irving.
Irving has an another controversy filled year for Brooklyn. After sitting out most of last season because he refused to get the Covid vaccine, Irving demanded a trade over the summer after failing to reach a new contract agreement as he entered the last year of his deal. Superstar teammate Kevin Durant also requested a trade, but Brooklyn decided to keep both players coming into this season. The Nets fired head coach Steve Nash after a 1-5 start, with Irving drawing national headlines again for sharing antisemitic propaganda on social media. After a team suspension, Irving returned to the court and played well enough to earn a starting spot in the 2023 NBA All-Star Game.
How does Kyrie Irving fit the Mavericks?
Irving gives Dallas a dynamic ball handler and knockdown three-point shooter next to Irving. His on-court skill set feels like a perfect fit next to Doncic … but of course with Irving, there’s always more to worry about off the court.
Doncic was putting up one of the highest usage rates in league history this season without Brunson next to him. The Mavericks had been searching for another star to pair with Doncic after they bailed out of their Kristaps Porzingis experiment at last year’s trade deadline.
The Mavericks are loaded with offensive firepower now. Dallas currently ranks No. 9 in offensive efficiency this season despite Doncic having less support than any other superstar in the league. Dallas’ defense, which currently ranks No. 24 this season, could be even more of a problem now. Irving is not considered a good defender, and Dallas is trading its best wing defender in Dorian Finney Smith in the deal.
Irving is averaging 27.1 points, 5.3 assists, and 5.1 rebounds per game on 37.4 percent shooting from three-point range this season. He’s an excellent offensive player as long as he keeps the focus only on basketball. At this point, Irving isn’t getting the benefit of the doubt from anyone in that regard. This feels like an awfully risky move for the Mavericks, especially when you consider they will have to re-sign Irving to a max extension over the offseason.
Clearly, Doncic was putting a lot of pressure on the team to improve the roster while he’s enjoying an MVP caliber season this year.
Where do the Nets stand after trading Kyrie Irving?
The Nets are acquiring a couple solid veterans in this deal in Spencer Dinwiddie and Dorian Finney-Smith.
Brooklyn knows all about Dinwiddie, who emerged as a quality lead ball handler during the five seasons he spent with the Nets from 2016-2017 to 2020-2021 before he signed with the Washington Wizards in free agency. Dinwiddie has had a nice year playing off Doncic this season, averaging 17.7 points, 5.3 assists, and 3.1 rebounds per game on 40.5 percent three-point shooting. He gives the Nets a 6’6 ball handler who can run pick-and-roll, hit spot-up threes, and help run the offseason.
Finney-Smith is also a good addition for Brooklyn. He’s broke out as a key piece during the Mavericks’ run to the Western Conference Finals last season by defending the best scorers on the opposition. Finney-Smith is a pure 3-and-D wing who won’t create much off the dribble, but can defend a variety of matchups at 6’7, 220 pounds, and has generally been a solid three-point shooter. His three-point percentage has fallen from 39.5 percent last season to 35.5 percent this season.
The unprotected 2029 first round pick going to Brooklyn could also be a big deal. Imagine if Doncic eventually demands out of Dallas or leaves in free agency … suddenly that pick would be looking very juice.
The big question for Brooklyn after this trade is what happens to Durant. Durant requested a trade over the summer, but the Nets didn’t give him his wish. Durant has responded by having an MVP caliber season and carrying the Nets up the East standings this year. Durant and Irving have always been very close, and it wouldn’t surprise anyone if KD eventually asks out again after this move. Both Durant and the Nets were reportedly caught off guard by Irving’s trade demand.
The Mavericks are taking a huge risk with high upside in trading for Irving. The Nets now have be concerned about how Durant is feeling. This is a major NBA trade, and it’s going to impact the top of the standings in both conferences.