Nets trade disgruntled Kyrie Irving to Mavericks for players, picks


Kyrie Irving’s turbulent four-year tenure in Brooklyn ended Sunday, when the Nets agreed to trade the disgruntled all-star guard to the Dallas Mavericks for a package of players and draft picks.

The Nets, who endured multiple controversies sparked by Irving in hopes of maintaining his partnership with franchise forward Kevin Durant, moved quickly in the wake of Irving’s trade request, which was made Friday after contract extension talks stalled.

Irving, 30, will head to Dallas, where he will be cast as franchise guard Luka Doncic’s sidekick. Forward Markieff Morris also will join Dallas. The Mavericks will send forward Dorian Finney-Smith, guard Spencer Dinwiddie, an unprotected 2029 first-round pick and second-round picks in 2027 and 2029 to the Nets, according to a person with knowledge of the agreement. The Athletic first reported the terms of the trade.

How the NBA scoring record evolved from Wilt to Kareem to LeBron

Trading for Irving is a remarkable gamble for the Mavericks, who lost guard Jalen Brunson to the New York Knicks in free agency shortly after reaching last year’s Western Conference finals. Dallas owner Mark Cuban and General Manager Nico Harrison have faced significant pressure to find a co-star for the 23-year-old Doncic, who has averaged 33.4 points, 8.9 rebounds and 8.2 assists this season. A previous partnership with Kristaps Porzingis fizzled out last season, and Brunson’s exit for New York left Doncic to bear the heaviest playmaking and scoring burden of his five-year career. Harrison, a former Nike executive, has known Irving, a former Nike endorser, for years given their ties to the footwear company.

Irving has averaged 27.1 points, 5.1 rebounds and 5.3 assists this season, and he joins Dallas with extensive postseason experience, including his starring role on the 2016 title-winning Cleveland Cavaliers. But he brings plenty of baggage, too. He torpedoed the Nets’ 2021-22 campaign by refusing to comply with New York City’s coronavirus vaccine mandate, and he sparked a backlash in November by promoting an antisemitic film on social media, prompting the Nets to suspend him for eight games.

After two relatively quiet months of productive play since returning from his suspension, Irving issued his trade request in advance of Thursday’s deadline. Brooklyn was prepared to offer him a long-term maximum extension in 2021 — before his anti-vaccination stance limited him to 29 games that season — but Irving had to settle for picking up his $36.5 million player option last summer. The Nets understandably had doubts about committing nearly $200 million over four years to a player who had missed nearly half of his team’s games, because of injury issues and self-inflicted drama, since arriving in 2019 free agency.

One day after levying his trade request, Irving missed Brooklyn’s Saturday win over the Washington Wizards with “right calf soreness.”

Stephen Curry likely out through NBA all-star break with leg injury

“I think you have a responsibility as a basketball player, like I do as a coach,” Brooklyn’s Jacque Vaughn said Saturday. “I show up. I do my job every single day. That’s what I signed up for.”

Nets guard Cam Thomas added: “Of course everybody was surprised. That’s not my business.”

Though Brooklyn didn’t land a star in return for Irving, Finney-Smith and Dinwiddie are logical veteran additions to Durant’s supporting cast. Finney-Smith, 29, is a long and athletic wing defender, while Dinwiddie, 29, is a complementary scorer and playmaker who will help fill the backcourt hole created by Irving’s departure.

Durant, 34, teamed up with Irving in 2019, hoping that their friendship and mutual respect would open a championship window for the Nets. Instead, Brooklyn failed to reach even the Eastern Conference finals amid injury issues for Durant, off-the-court distractions involving Irving and its ill-fated dalliance with James Harden, who was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers at last year’s deadline.

Durant issued his own trade request last summer, citing concerns about Brooklyn’s culture. The Nets left Durant’s request unfulfilled after being unable to find a deal to its liking, but they parted ways with coach Steve Nash just seven games into this season. With Irving out of the picture, Durant’s happiness again will be the subject of significant scrutiny. Brooklyn has played well under Vaughn; at 32-20, the Nets hold the No. 4 seed in the East.

Sign up for our weekly NBA newsletter to get the best basketball coverage in your inbox

Source link

Source: News

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *