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NBA Insider: Mavs Feeling Pressure to Re-Sign Kyrie Irving

With so much on the line for the future of the franchise, the Dallas Mavericks know letting Kyrie Irving walk away for nothing this summer is not an option.

Most would think acquiring a superstar player at the trade deadline would lead a team to a playoff run. Well, for the Dallas Mavericks, said acquisition landed them comfortably on their couch following the end of the regular season. Kyrie Irving wasn't solely at fault for the disappointing finish to the season, though, and retaining his services has become the focus of Dallas' offseason.

NBA Insider Marc Stein hopped on the 97.1 The Freak to talk all things Mavericks on Saturday and discussed the upcoming free agency of Irving. For Dallas, despite tanking their way out of the play-in tournament, the team remains optimistic on their chances to re-sign Irving, which is something they feel they must do.

“The Mavericks feel like they obviously have to bring him back given what they traded to get him," Stein said. “If Kyrie walks without compensation like Brunson did, absolute dagger.”

It would indeed be a dagger to straight to the heart of MFFLs for the second-straight offseason. After Jalen Brunson waltzed his way to the New York Knicks, the Mavericks learned the hard way just how brutal losing an asset, especially as valuable as Brunson, for nothing is. And with Irving, who has been unpredictable throughout his career, you just never know what his plans are.

The Mavs’ optimism regarding Irving is backed by some more reporting from Stein. With Irving's past, it begs to question which other team would offer him the kind of near-max deal he's seeking. But even then, how much will Dallas be willing to offer him?

“The Mavericks have to come up with a contract as team friendly as they can but that doesn’t leave Kyrie feeling as if he was shortchanged, and that’s a really, really tough needle to thread," Stein said. “Who’s coming after him? Where is the market for Kyrie Irving right now? I frankly don’t see one.” 

Stein mentioned that 'his sense' is that Irving is seeking a deal that's at least four years long. That’s a tough ask being that Irving has failed to play out his last three contracts with his previous three teams, but the Mavs quite frankly don’t have much leverage in this situation given what they traded to get him — two key starters and and a 2029 unprotected first-round pick.

If the Mavs could swing a two or three-year deal, that'd be the ideal move for the present and the future. But for the right now, when the only prerogative is to make sure Luka Doncic is happy in Dallas, doing whatever it takes to retain Irving on whatever deal should be viewed as a positive.

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