The Kyrie Irving blockbuster trade
The Nets shipped Kyrie Irving to the Mavericks on Sunday in a blockbuster move that could change the trajectory for two NBA franchises and set the stage for a busy trade deadline week.
The trade: Irving, 30, joins MVP candidate Luka Dončić in Dallas, where they'll form the league's most ball-dominant backcourt. The Nets add depth and versatility, while getting out of a toxic relationship.
- Nets send: Irving, Markieff Morris
- Mavericks send: Dorian Finney-Smith, Spencer Dinwiddie, unprotected 2029 first-round pick, two second-round picks
Wild stat: Irving and Kevin Durant signed with the Nets in the summer of 2019. In the three-plus seasons since joining forces, they appeared in just 74 games together.
The backdrop: Irving requested a trade on Friday after failing to reach an agreement with the Nets on a contract extension. If Brooklyn didn't make a deal, they risked losing him for nothing in free agency.
- The Mavs now take on that risk. Acquiring Irving instantly improved their title odds, but he may ultimately be a five-month rental if he signs elsewhere this summer.
- Dallas was desperate to find Dončić a co-star after the Kristaps Porziņģis experiment failed and they lost Jalen Brunson to the Knicks. They ended up with the NBA's most polarizing player.
Between the lines: The Mavericks weren't the only team in the mix for Irving, who will become the first All-Star starter to be traded midseason since Carmelo Anthony in 2011.
- The Lakers offered Russell Westbrook and two first-round picks, per The Athletic's Shams Charania ($); the Suns offered a package centered on Chris Paul and picks, per TNT's Chris Haynes.
- "Maybe It's Me," tweeted LeBron James after the news broke. When asked on Saturday if Irving could turn the Lakers into title contenders, James said, "That's a duh question."
What's next: The Nets plan to flip the Dallas picks and other assets for win-now players ahead of Thursday's trade deadline. That is, unless Durant demands they trade him, too (like he did six months ago).