By Dorothy J. Gentry
For years, fans of the Dallas Mavericks have lamented that the franchise could never attract any “real superstars” to play in Dallas.
That all changed Sunday afternoon when news broke that the Brooklyn Nets are trading NBA champion and star Kyrie Irving to the Mavericks.
In return the Mavs are sending beloved fan favorite Dorian Finney-Smith – who rose from an undrafted player to a starter – and Spencer Dinwiddie. Mavs are also sending an unprotected 2029 first-round pick and second-round picks in 2027 and 2029 to the Nets in exchange for Irving and Markieff Morris, according to league sources.
Irving, 30, won an NBA championship with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016 alongside longtime teammate LeBron James. He is a perennial All-Star, including being named an All-Star starter for this year’s games in Salt Lake City, Utah. On Friday he requested a trade from the Nets where he has played the last four seasons.
According to ESPN, who broke the news, Nico Harrison, Mavs general manager, has a long history with Irving dating back to their time at Nike. In addition, Mavs coach Jason Kidd was in favor of the trade, as was franchise star Luka Doncic.
The Mavs’ next four games are all on the road. Irving is expected to arrive for a physical on Monday in Dallas and travel to make his Mavs debut when they play the L.A. Clippers on Wednesday, 9 p.m. CST on ESPN. Their next home game is Monday, Feb. 13 when they host the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Irving is currently having an All-Star season, averaging 27.1 points, 5.1 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game, but there has been a lot of off-court drama with the NBA superstar, including refusing to get vaccinated against COVID-19, injuries and missed playing time and more.
Still, on the court he is a champion and bona fide superstar. It remains to be seen how he and Luka will play together moving forward.
Stay tuned for more on this breaking story.