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Mark Cuban reveals how Luka Doncic pushed for Mavericks to make Kyrie Irving trade

Moments after beating the Clippers, Cuban shared his big vision for the Doncic-Irving partnership.

Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic
Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic celebrates with team owner Mark Cuban as he leaves the floor after a victory over the Phoenix Suns in Game 7 of an NBA second round playoff series on Sunday, May 15, 2022, in Phoenix, Ariz. The Mavericks won the game 123-90 to advance to the Western Conference Finals.(Smiley N. Pool / Staff Photographer)

By Callie Caplan

LOS ANGELES — Those watching the Mavericks’ 110-104 win Wednesday night over the Clippers likely noticed Doncic on the bench, dressed in a dark green Jordan Brand sweatsuit and often standing to celebrate his team’s first victory with Kyrie Irving in tow.

Pardon Doncic if his reactions blocked those of another notable fan in the row behind him.

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban ended the night in Arena just as excited about his team’s performance and outlook down the stretch of this season.

Though the Mavericks are still exploring moves ahead of the NBA’s 2 p.m. Thursday trade deadline — with Tim Hardaway Jr. and Christian Wood among the likeliest candidates to move — Cuban marveled at the post-Irving-trade roster’s potential to dominate scoring, increase speed and continue developing around Doncic as another postseason approaches.


In a conversation with reporters after the victory, Cuban touched on all of those subjects — but declined to comment on one: the controversy Irving sparked as a member of the Brooklyn Nets in November by sharing a film filled with antisemitism and conspiracy theories and then refusing to disavow it in subsequent news conferences.

“I’m not going to go into it at all,” Cuban said when a reporter started to ask for his perspective as a Jewish man.

Cuban, however, has discussed the national rise in antisemitism and hateful rhetoric this season, condemning Kanye West’s “abhorrent” comments last October while standing by Mavericks small forward Reggie Bullock, who commented on one of West’s Instagram posts in support of his favorite entertainer.

This time, Cuban did not want to bring more attention to the controversy that resulted in Irving serving an eight-game suspension in early November. The 30-year-old All-Star, who said he stands by his apology to the Jewish community despite recently deleting the Instagram post, said he hopes to find “peace” with his new team.

On the court, he did Wednesday night.


Here’s what Cuban said after Irving dropped 24 points, five rebounds, four assists, one block and one steal in his Mavericks debut.

How are you curious to see how Luka adapts to playing with a Hall of Fame-level talent?

Cuban: I’m not really curious at all. I think it’s great. I’m excited, not curious. Luka can play with anybody, and he’s proven that time and time again. They both have such high basketball IQs and a little bit different skillsets, so they’ll blend every which way. I’m excited about it. And then Jaden [Hardy] and Josh [Green] — Josh is playing at an All-Star level. I don’t care about what anybody says. He really is.

Maybe closer to Most Improved Player?

Cuban: But I’m saying right now, these last couple games, he’s playing at that level. It’s insane the way he’s stepped up and taken that responsibility last game and this game. Now, all of the sudden, when Kyrie and Luka are out there, you pick your poison and then give it to Josh and give it to Jaden. Once Jaden learned to get the ball above the square on his drives, he’s going to be so good, so good.


What was Luka’s feedback in helping decide this trade?

Cuban: Go for it. We need talent. He’s a Hall of Fame player, and I’d love to play with talent. Why would you not want to play with him? It was that simple. I mean, why would you not want to play with him? It’s not like the guy just gets up 40 shots. The guy plays to his circumstances and any situation, like he did tonight. Just the tempo and pace and everything — we’ll be able to have multiple ways approaching the game, and that’s important for us.

What is it about Jason Kidd that makes him suited to coach this situation, handling two superstars coming together mid-season?

Cuban: Because he’s been in it his entire career — USA Basketball, coaching them, Giannis. That’s what he’s done his entire coaching career, and he was that guy who pulled pieces together when he was a player. So this is nothing new for him. He was adamant about doing this deal. He was like, I love Kyrie. Kyrie is a special talent. He’s a good human, and we should do all we can to get him.

This story, originally published in The Dallas Morning News, is reprinted as part of a collaborative partnership between The Dallas Morning News and Texas Metro News. The partnership seeks to boost coverage of Dallas’ communities of color, particularly in southern Dallas- at the bottom.


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