The Dallas Mavericks entered the offseason with two main goals: Re-sign Jalen Brunson and find a big man upgrade for the starting lineup.
The latter has already been handled, as Dallas traded four end-of-the-bench players and the No. 26 pick in tonight’s NBA Draft for Christian Wood. That trade will be made official tonight when the Mavs make the selection for the Rockets.
As for Brunson, there have been conflicting reports about his potential return to Dallas. Some believe a new contract agreement is essentially “a done deal,” while others insist that teams like the New York Knicks and Detroit Pistons still have a shot at stealing Brunson, who might be wanting a near-max contract.
If Dallas is hesitant to commit that kind of money to Brunson, perhaps they could take advantage of the Brooklyn Nets’ deteriorating situation with Kyrie Irving, who has yet to either opt-in or out of his $36.5 million option for the 2022-23 season. According to a report from FOX Sports, Irving’s personal connections to Mavs’ management could open the possibility of him joining forces with Luka Doncic.
“While the Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks and LA Clippers are reportedly interested in Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving if he doesn’t opt in to the final year of his current deal and tests free agency, one Eastern Conference executive suggested that the Dallas Mavericks offer the best fit. The reasons were fairly straightforward: their GM, their coach and their star player,” writes Ric Bucher.
The report goes on to say that Irving has a lot of respect for Mavs coach Jason Kidd — apparently, a lot more than he does for Nets coach Steve Nash. Irving also has a good relationship with Mavs GM Nico Harrison from his days as a Nike executive.
“And then there’s Luka Doncic, the Mavs’ superstar playmaker. ‘With Luka, Kyrie doesn’t have to be your best player,’ the rival GM said. ‘He doesn’t have to lead. But they do need a second scorer, and he can do that.’”
And now there's this: ESPN's Woj is reporting that Kyrie's got a sign-and-trade wish list that includes the Lakers, Clippers, Heat, Knicks, Sixers and ... the Mavs.
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With Jalen Brunson out, a possible option to fill that void is also gone.
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The Mavs have shown that they can take players with iffy reputations into their culture and change that perception. Look no further than Spencer Dinwiddie, who was made a scapegoat for the Washington Wizards’ locket room tension. Dinwiddie instantly became the Mavs’ third-leading scorer as Dallas surged to the Western Conference finals.
Given, the potential risks with Irving are a little different than Dinwiddie’s, as Irving tends to miss a lot of games due to a variety of personal reasons. However, given Irving’s talent level, taking a flyer on him could be worth the risk for Dallas, especially if there’s doubts about being able to re-sign Brunson.
Due to the Mavs’ salary cap situation, Irving would have to opt into his player option for the Mavs to potentially work out a deal. If Irving opts out and becomes an unrestricted free agent, Dallas would have more hoops to jump through to make a deal work, and it would likely end up costing them more than than they’d be willing to spend for a talented-but-risky point guard on what would likely be a longer-term deal in that scenario.
You can follow Dalton Trigg on Twitter at @dalton_trigg
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