Feb 6, 2023 - Sports

The Kyrie Irving blockbuster trade

Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving

Photo: Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

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).

Go deeper