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Nets Send Kyrie Irving to Mavericks for Massive Haul

Kyrie Irving is on the move again. The former Nets superstar Point Guard, along with Forward Markeef Morris, was traded to the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith, and a haul of draft choices including two future second-round picks and an unprotected future first-round pick. 

The move comes just days after the Nets and Irving reportedly failed to reach a long-term contract extension, leading to Irving requesting a trade from the team. Despite Irving averaging 27 points per game, 5 assists per game, and carrying the load in the absence of Kevin Durant, the Nets felt it best to trade Irving sooner rather than later in exchange for assets that may have future value, rather than letting Irving leave without getting anything back. 

Irving’s tenure with the Nets was plagued by injuries and off-court controversy. After signing with the team in 2019, Irving did not travel to the COVID ‘bubble’ in 2020 due to injury, and proceeded to get hurt again the next season halfway through a playoff series against the Milwaukee Bucks in which the Nets lost in 7 games. Injuries have not been the only thing keeping him off the court. Irving’s adamant stance against league-wide COVID vaccine mandates kept him out of the lineup for the majority of last season, as he only played in 29 games and missed nearly the entire home schedule. Irving has also come under scrutiny after promoting an antisemitic film on his social media, and was suspended for multiple games by the Nets in early November. 

This is not the first fallout Kyrie has had with a team full of stars and championship-level expectations. Irving was a part of the Cleveland Cavaliers team that beat the 73-9 Golden State Warriors in the 2016 NBA Finals, capped off by his clutch three-point shot to take the lead late in game seven of that series. A year later, Irving requested a trade from the team as it appeared he did not want to play in the shadow of Lebron James. He was subsequently dealt to the Celtics.

Irving’s time with the Celtics ended way worse than anyone could have predicted. After two years of high-level play and deep postseason runs, Irving publicly promised Celtics fans he would re-sign with the team in the following offseason, however he later went back on that promise and signed with the Nets. Irving’s trips back to Boston since joining the Nets have been full of tense moments between him and Celtics fans, including an incident where he gave the middle finger and screamed curse words at heckling fans.

Despite his outstanding ball handling and scoring ability, Kyrie Irving’s play on the court has been overshadowed by his antics and controversy off the court. Irving may be the missing piece his new team needs to win a championship, but there is still a lingering uncertainty about his future. Irving is set to become an unrestricted free agent over the summer and is eligible to sign a two-year extension with the Mavs worth about $88 million before the offseason begins. However, Irving will likely demand a four-year contract worth about $200 million, and the Mavs may not be willing to entertain his price tag. Additionally, there is not even a guarantee that Irving will even want to be in Dallas long term after this season. Kyrie’s preferred team is the Los Angeles Lakers, where he hopes to reunite with Lebron James despite his departure from Lebron’s Cavs six years ago. No matter what happens this offseason, the Mavs will be his fourth team in six years, and any team that takes on Kyrie will have to handle all the antics that come with him. It will not surprise anyone if his drama once again overshadows his play, and he has another dramatic breakup from yet another NBA team in the near future.