Kyrie has been traded to the Mavericks πŸ‘€

I started working on this post on Friday and wrote a whole bunch about Kyrie’s potential fit with the Lakers, but I swear I included a part at the end where I said a trade to the Mavericks would make a lot of sense. This is what I wrote on Friday in my draft:

“While I’m not sure if the personality fit with Kyrie and Luka makes a ton of sense, I actually think this would be a great move. Kyrie would make a great second star next to Luka, and Kyrie has shown that he’s able to thrive with a heliocentric player in LeBron, although LeBron isn’t quite as heliocentric as Luka is. But then again, maybe Luka wouldn’t have to be so heliocentric if he had a guy like Kyrie, who could not only get his own shot and fill it up, but also act as a primary ball-handler.”

I was going to conclude with this: “The Lakers are the most likely team to get him, but don’t overlook the Mavs here.”

I did not think the Suns were a realistic option. They would have had to trade Chris Paul to the Nets, but then, what, you have Kyrie, D-Book and Ayton? Wouldn’t really move the needle, in my opinion.

Okay, I will just start this post with what I wrote on Friday, and obviously delete all the stuff about his potential fit with the Lakers.

So Kyrie apparently told the Nets: either trade me by the deadline and get something in return, or I walk in free agency in the summer. However, complicating this whole plan of this is the fact that the Nets are actually pretty good this year. They’re 31-20 right now, 4th place in the East, and Kevin Durant should be coming back in the next couple of weeks. Probably right after the All Star break if I had to guess.

Could the Nets have just said to Kyrie, “Sorry, but we want to try and win a Championship this year, so we don’t mind letting you walk for nothing in the summer”?

And if they had said that to him, would he just put his head down and play, and then leave after the season? I think he probably would have, actually, even as unpredictable as he is. Because if he didn’t get traded, yet still played hard for Brooklyn and helped them go on a playoff run, that would boost his value on the open market because teams might see him as less of a “problem child.” They’ll see him as a team-player who was able to set his pride aside. So it would be in Kyrie’s best interests to play and play hard for Brooklyn even if they don’t grant his trade demand.

So this is why I didn’t think Kyrie would be traded. There are several other reasons that support that as well, but this is the main one as I see it.

But Kyrie and the Nets were done with each other. His relationship with Joe Tsai and Sean Marks felt broken, and it seemed like they wanted nothing to do with one another. What led to Kyrie’s trade demand was their negotiations on a long-term contract extension for him. Kyrie wanted the full max: 4 years, $200 million, with no strings attached. Brooklyn wants him to take an incentive-laden contract, and Kyrie was offended by that, so he broke off all negotiations and it seems as if he’s just said, “I’ve had it with you guys.”

It does feel like this trade is a product of Kyrie simply deciding, “I no longer want to work with you, Sean Marks and Joe Tsai. We are done here. Let’s go our separate ways.” And I’m sure the feeling is mutual. Irreconcilable differences.

I’m sure the Nets were happy to be done with him as well.

Here are the details of the trade:

Okay, so I’ve already gone over how I think Kyrie and Luka will be a good fit together–or at least can be a good fit together.

The Mavs are going for it. They see how wide open the West is, and they probably think, “We have arguably the best player in the Western Conference on our team, and he’s out there struggling like hell just to keep up above .500. We know if we don’t get him some help he’s probably going to leave us in free agency, so let’s go after Kyrie Irving to get him a second star here. With how wide open the West is, we’d have a real shot to get to the Finals with Kyrie and Luka.”

And they’re right to think that. Luka and Kyrie is a duo that can do some serious damage in the West.

I think a big problem for Dallas this year is that they really have not gotten over losing Jalen Brunson. Brunson went to the Knicks, and Dallas lost their second scoring option. They still had Dinwiddie, who has been having a good season (averaging 17.7 points a game on 55.5% eFG), and DFS was having a pretty decent year, but it wasn’t enough to replace Brunson. Brunson is a dude who dropped 41 in a playoff game last year; he’s a legit second scoring option. Dinwiddie is more of a third option, in my view, who was being asked to be a 2.

With Kyrie now sliding into the Brunson role in Dallas, that’s an upgrade over what Brunson brought to the table last year. No disrespect to Brunson because he’s a good player, but he’s not Kyrie.

I’m just picturing Kyrie and Luka each going off for 40+ in a playoff game, a lot like LeBron and Kyrie in Cleveland.

Dallas now has two dudes who are elite half court bucket-getters, and I think that translates well to the playoffs, where you are often required to get tough buckets in your half court offense.

There are not many teams that will be able to go back and forth with this Dallas squad.

In the fourth quarter in the playoffs, games often turn into a shot-for-shot competition, where you have to continually answer with buckets, and the team that is able to get buckets more consistently wins. Dallas is now built for that, probably better than anyone else in the league.

There’s a risk that it could turn into a “your turn, my turn” offense, and defensively Dallas is going to probably have some issues.

But then again, there aren’t many teams out there that won’t have issues with the Dallas backcourt.

Love this move for the Mavericks. They had to get Luka some help, and they did. There might not be a better “second star” fit alongside him than Kyrie.

Obviously there are risks abound with Kyrie, and he is notoriously unpredictable and at times unreliable. But it’s a risk the Mavericks had to take.

They have a real chance to win the West this year because I just don’t see any other team out there that can match them in a half court bucket-getting contest.

I want to see how it looks on the court over the next month or so, but I’m thinking about picking Dallas to make the Finals.

The next question we have to consider here is this: what happens to KD now?

I wrote several times over the summer that I thought KD wanted to “break up” with Kyrie. Not that they aren’t friends anymore, but that KD just felt like he couldn’t count on Kyrie, and because the Nets couldn’t trade Kyrie over the summer, that’s why KD demanded a trade out of Brooklyn.

So I don’t know if this means KD is done in Brooklyn. Obviously their championship hopes just took a big hit, and KD has now lost both Harden and Kyrie, but KD may well have faith in Sean Marks and Joe Tsai’s ability to get him some championship-caliber help in the offseason.

Brooklyn isn’t winning anything this year, though. That’s for sure.

And there’s only 3.5 days left before the trade deadline, so if KD wants out of Brooklyn, it’s going to have to come together quickly. But then again, the Kyrie trade happened in like 48 hours. So I guess it’s possible if KD really wants to get out of there.

The difference, though, is that KD is under contract through the 2026 season–four more years. So he doesn’t have much leverage here. He might just be screwed, at least for this year.

I don’t know who Brooklyn could go after in the free agent market this summer, either:

Russell Westbrook? If KD wanted to play with Westbrook again, the Nets would have just taken the Lakers’ trade offer, so I think we can deduce that KD has no interest in reuniting with Westbrook.

Harden, Kyrie? Obviously not.

Middleton? He’s probably back in Milwaukee, I’m sure.

I don’t really see how Brooklyn gets better in free agency, honestly.

They could always make a trade for somebody like Damian Lillard, or Bradley Beal.

But do they have enough draft picks to actually make that happen? I really have lost track of how many picks Brooklyn has at this point. They’ve sent so many out and gotten so many back over the past few years that I’m not sure what they have at this point.

They definitely have a plethora of shooters and role players to offer, but I think if they’re going to obtain a superstar-level player from a team looking to blow it up and rebuild, they’re going to need to offer a lot of first round draft picks, and I just don’t think they have those picks to offer.

I don’t know. Not even going to try to guess what happens with KD.

If I have to predict something, I’ll say he somehow ends up back in Golden State. But that’s pure speculation.

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