There’s a lot of chatter heading toward the 2022 NBA trade deadline, but the Dallas Mavericks are often mentioned just in passing. They’re not a realistic destination for Ben Simmons or James Harden, who recently re-entered the news cycle.
The mercurial point guard is only playing in road games at the moment, which limits his value to his current franchise. That doesn’t tank his value to NBA franchises that have no issues making blockbuster deals and those that are desperate to make a championship run, though.
Franchises like Mark Cuban’s Mavs.
Dallas is in the midst of a midseason surge
After a loss to the Sacramento Kings (speaking of trade deadline intrigue) on Dec. 29, the Mavericks fell to 16-18 on the season.
But a win over the same team two nights later kicked off a six-game winning streak. After a loss in Madison Square Garden, Dallas ran off four more consecutive wins.
Since New Year’s Eve, the Mavs are 12-3 and have gone from fighting for a play-in spot to potentially hosting a postseason series. Dallas is currently fifth in the Western Conference but only two games behind the fourth-place Utah Jazz.
Luka Doncic and Co. have the second-best record in the league during that span.
Surprisingly, the Mavericks’ catalyst this season has been their defense. Despite Doncic averaging more than 25 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists, the team is 26th in scoring but third in points allowed.
Luka has been in need of a second star since he entered the NBA. The idea was that it would be Kristaps Porzingis. So far, that hasn’t worked.
It’s time for an upgrade.
A perfect storm is brewing to send Kyrie Irving from the Nets to the Dallas Mavericks
There is currently a trail of NBA clues that solve the mystery of both the Nets and Mavericks — and, by proxy, Kyrie and Luka:
- Irving is only a part-time player with Brooklyn.
- James Harden has gone public with his desire to possibly leave the Nets, in part because of his frustration with Kyrie’s part-time play, according to Bleacher Report.
- Kevin Durant is out four-to-six weeks with a left knee injury.
- Brooklyn has fallen from first to fourth (for now) in the Eastern Conference standings.
- Steve Nash’s team has lacked a legitimate rim-protector since his Big Three arrived.
- Dallas has been rumored to be involved with Myles Turner, Domantas Sabonis, Simmons, Caris LeVert, Jerami Grant … basically anyone and everyone who’s available.
- The Mavericks have struggled to put up points despite having a generational offensive talent but have a top-three defense.
- Dallas doesn’t have a vaccine mandate.
There’s a logical end to this that we don’t need Sherlock Holmes to solve:
Dallas Mavericks receive: Kyrie Irving
Brooklyn Nets receive: Kristpas Porzingis
A one-for-one deal works. There’s a good possibility members of the Brooklyn organization are over having Kyrie around in general. It’s not just his part-time play that’s ruffled feathers.
Plus, there’s no threat of a vaccine mandate in Texas.
Dallas would surely be interested in finding a trade partner for a 7-foot-3 center with a history of foot injuries.
The Nets would get their rim-protector and floor-spacer to put around Harden and KD, and the Mavs would get Luka the perfect backcourt partner.
Kyrie could help Luka finally get past the first round of the playoffs
Dallas’s roster has gotten stale. It’s been some combination of Doncic, Porzingis, Jalen Brunson, Dorian Finney-Smith, Tim Hardaway Jr. (now injured), Dwight Powell, and Maxi Kleber the past few seasons.
That’s gotten Luka to the playoffs twice, with two first-round exits.
For all his flaws, Irving is a proven clutch scorer with postseason experience. When at his best, he’s perhaps the most creative offensive player in the NBA, as is Doncic.
When The Beard arrived in Brooklyn, Kyrie had no problem taking a step back, saying in a February 2021 story on NBC Sports, “I just looked at him and I said, ‘You’re the point guard, and I’m going to play shooting guard.’ That was as simple as that.”
Irving is the perfect backcourt partner for someone with the 22-year-old Slovenian’s skill set. He’s comfortable playing off the ball but has no problems taking over the offense when needed.
Doncic is a ball-dominant playmaker and facilitator. Kyrie played with one of those once and won a championship in Cleveland.
It’s the most significant trade that could occur at the deadline and maybe the most logical one no one is talking about.
And oh, would it be fun to watch.
All statistics courtesy of NBA.com.