Axios Dallas

Newsletter branding image

Happy Wednesday! You can't unweave the past.

🌧️ Today's weather: More rain and strong wind gusts. High of 66.

🎵 Sounds like: "Better Together"

🏆 Situational awareness: Congratulations to Axios Dallas readers Jerry Straley and Mackenzie Douglas for winning our NCAA Men's and Women's bracket challenges. Email us for your swag!

Today's newsletter is 913 dynamic words — a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: The Mavericks prep for playoffs

We must protect these two at all costs. Photo: Sam Hodde/Getty Images

The Dallas Mavericks are peaking at the right time, thanks to the power pairing of Luka Dončić and Kyrie Irving.

Why it matters: A solid NBA playoff run after last year's World Series win would help make up for all those heartbreaking years as a Dallas sports fan.

  • We hesitate to speculate too much because we're a superstitious bunch.

Driving the news: Dallas' regular season ends Sunday, and the NBA playoffs start April 20.

  • The final home game is Friday against the Detroit Pistons.

State of play: The Mavericks have the fifth-best record in the Western Conference after winning 15 of their last 17 games, including a 130-104 win over the Charlotte Hornets last night. They can do no worse than a 6 seed in the playoffs.

Between the lines: Irving joined the Mavericks last year in a trade and signed a multiyear deal with the team in the summer. Many NBA analysts and fans were skeptical of his pairing with Dončić.

  • The team missed the playoffs last year after a "disastrous season" but has emerged as a championship contender this year.
  • "A lot of people said it wouldn't work. It would be too ball dominant. But guess what? The Mavericks are hitting their stride at the right moment and the duo looks like it's working quite well," NBA TV analyst Brendan Haywood said on Sunday, after the Mavericks beat the Rockets in overtime.

Zoom out: The Mavericks finally have a versatile roster that could be clutch in the playoffs.

  • Frisco native PJ Washington, who was acquired through a trade this season, scored 32 points against the Golden State Warriors last week while Dončić was out because of knee soreness.
  • Center Daniel Gafford has found more success in Dallas than his past seasons in Chicago and Washington.

What they're saying: "Kyrie and Luka get the majority of the attention, as they should. But I think the complementary pieces have really stepped up," Rockets head coach Ime Udoka said at a news conference recently.

What's next: Dallas plays in Miami at 6:30pm today.

2. 💪 D-FW has a strong labor market

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

The Dallas metro is one of the top labor markets in the country, per a new Wall Street Journal and Moody's Analytics assessment.

Driving the news: Dallas ranked as the 10th strongest labor market of major metropolitan areas with a population of more than 1 million, per the Journal analysis.

  • The rankings factored the unemployment rate, labor-force participation rate, changes to employment levels, the size of the labor force and wages.

Why it matters: Dallas-Fort Worth grew the most among U.S. metros last year, adding more than 150,000 people between July 2022 and July 2023, per U.S. Census data.

  • With a strong labor market, the region's dominance is likely to continue.

The big picture: Texas had two metros in the Top 10 — Austin and Dallas — compared to Florida's three.

  • Salt Lake City was the top-ranked labor market, in part because it's more affordable than traditional tech cities.

Between the lines: Job growth has exceeded expectations nationwide, with a March labor report showing the strongest growth in 10 months.

Yes, but: Dallas was behind Austin, which was ranked seventh in the WSJ analysis.

  • The D-FW metro struggled with its unemployment rate, which at 4.2% in February was above that month's national rate of 3.9%.

3. ⛽️ Charted: Our rising gas prices

Data: GasBuddy; Chart: Axios Visuals

Dallas-Fort Worth gas prices are about 45 cents more expensive per gallon than they were a month ago, per AAA.

Why it matters: Gas prices tend to tick up in the spring, hitting seasonal highs in May.

The big picture: The price of a regular gallon of gas tends to be cheaper in Texas than nationally, but the gap has tightened this month, per GasBuddy data.

  • Texas gas prices were about 50 cents cheaper per gallon in November. The savings per gallon is only about 25 cents now.

By the numbers: A gallon of gas cost about $3.61 nationwide yesterday, per AAA.

  • In Texas, the cost was $3.23.
  • But in D-FW, a gallon cost about $3.40.

4. 🗞 Burnt ends: Bite-sized news bits

Bridging the gap in other news. Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

👮 Congresswoman Beth Van Duyne, of Irving, took out an ad in the New York Post telling police officers to relocate to Dallas-Fort Worth. (DMN)

⚖️ A Dallas police sergeant faces felony theft charges for allegedly stealing three department firearms. (WFAA)

🎙 End Citizens United alleges in a campaign finance complaint that Sen. Ted Cruz directed iHeartMedia, which syndicates his podcast, to send $630,000 to a PAC supporting his re-election. (Texas Tribune)

5. 🤝 Become an Axios member

Help us help our readers.

Our members help sustain our newsroom and ensure that Axios Dallas remains a free newsletter.

The big picture: Axios Local is in 30 cities, each with a team of locally based reporters who love their cities just like we do.

State of play: If you join as a member, you'll get insider notes from the Axios Dallas team, birthday shoutouts in the newsletter and other perks.

  • Plus: You'll be part of our growth while ensuring that Axios Dallas is always free and accessible to the community.

How to help: Become a member for as little as $50 a year.

The bottom line: Thank you for your trust and continued readership.

This newsletter was edited by Bob Gee and copy edited by Carolyn DiPaolo.

Editor's note: The item on the Dallas Mavericks has been corrected to reflect that Kyrie Irving arrived in Dallas as part of a trade, not as a free agent.

Our picks:

⚗️ Tasha is reading about the physicist who predicted the existence of a "God particle."

🌙 Naheed is wishing all Muslims, especially Kyrie Irving, "Eid Mubarak."

Are we your favorite duo? Spread the word. Forward this email to your friends.