Mavericks, Mark Cuba bet big on Kyrie Irving trade

No one believes in the power of change more Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.

He changed the manners of the NBA owners, donated items to the team and sat on the floor near the bench. He changed the way the league scores its referees, introducing analytics and quotas. Hell, he appeared on a TV show, “Shark Tank,” that changed the fortunes of weekly small business owners.

And now, he clearly believes he can change Kyrie Irving.

“Cuba didn’t get to where it was,” said an Eastern Conference GM, “by not taking risks.”

That’s not so much what Irving got from brooklyn network Mavericks expense report – Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith, one pick in the first round and two picks in the second — because it is unknown which picks Irving the Mavericks is receiving. it would be the one that helped provide the Cleveland Cavaliers’ the only championship and can go up against any scoring defender in the tournament? Or the one who has not played more than 54 games in any given season in the last four seasons, forced to leave two different teams and constantly embroiled in controversies?

“Hopefully,” said a league source familiar with the Mavericks thinking, “they get the best Kyrie.”

That most likely depends on whether Cuba has a stronger commitment to him than Nets owner Joe Tsai is willing to make. Irving told the Nets last week, according to multiple reports, that he wanted to be traded before the Thursday deadline, after the team failed to agree to him a four-year fully guaranteed maximum salary extension. .

“Dallas could have given him some sort of guarantee that they’d get close to the numbers he wanted or expected,” said the GM of the Eastern Conference.

But sources familiar with Mavericks and Irving’s thinking bluntly said “no” when asked if the team and Irving had an agreement on an extension.

One even described the Mavericks acquisition as “rental”.

And while there are reports that many teams are interested in Irving, very few reports say anything about what is being offered or the willingness of interested teams to give Irving the extension he is looking for. searched from the Nets, probably for a reason.

“I could see a team willing to pay him close to the maximum,” said an Eastern Conference scout, “but perhaps in just a two-year, team-friendly deal, a again with everything tied to availability.”

That, league sources say, is one of the hurdles in Los Angeles Lakers’ trying to reunite Irving with LeBron James, his teammate on the Cavs won that championship. The Lakers are open to putting in one of their future first picks in 2027 or 2029 only on the condition that Irving re-sign them, a source close to the team said, and if James is in charge. responsible for keeping Irving in the ranks.

The Lakers also need to include a third team in the deal because the Nets are not interested in the main part of their offer, the sixth Russell Westbrook and his expiring $47 million contract. The Nets are intent on raising their championship hopes this season and thus discouraging their remaining star, Kevin Durant, from reviving his commercial needs last summer. As a result, the Lakers needed a third team to take Westbrook and their conditional pick in exchange for sending Nets players they considered equal or upgraded from what they lost at Irving.

An executive deeply familiar with both Westbrook and Durant has denied the latter is open to playing with Westbrook again. The two may now have a friendly relationship, the executive said, but Durant doesn’t want to play Westbrook a second time after ending their eight-year partnership last year. Oklahoma City almost seven seasons ago.

The iron spurReady to be the third team the Lakers need, a league source said, but it’s unclear which players they’re willing to send to the Nets or what compensation they want against Westbrook.

Irving has quite a bit of a journey log for eight All-Star appearances, considering it his fourth team in 12 seasons. Blame or credit him, arguably the most talented yet mysterious player the league has ever seen. His spellbinding tackles and shots make it difficult to predict his exact position on the field; His behavior and attitude when turning it off is also unpredictable. One day he announced that he wanted to stick with a team forever, the next day he asked for a trade or high bid as a free agent. He seems eager to be taken seriously but at one point insists that the world is flat. He presents himself as an agent for positive change, supporting numerous charities, but he trades in conspiracy theories that have been debunked and corroborated by far-right provocateur Alex Jones. He frequently shares spiritual axioms on social media, but also posts the cover of a highly antiparasitic film with no explanation, only apologizing after being hit by everyone from the owner. Nets owner Joe Tsai to the players’ union until commissioner Adam Silver criticized.

And after repeatedly saying that leading the Nets to the championship was all that mattered to him, he successfully overcame the 32-20 team that is currently fourth in the Eastern Conference and came The Mavs 28-26, a four-team breather trying to take the sixth and final guaranteed playoff spot in the West.

Mavs interest in Irving makes sense as another attempt to find a co-star of championship caliber points forward Luka Dončić. First, in another forced transaction scenario involving a group in New York, they acquired Kristaps Porzingis from Knicks. That trial lasted less than three seasons before they moved Porzingis in magician. protection point Jalen Brunson filled the void but didn’t seem to be big enough to be a star and was left as a free agent to get a better offer (from the Knicks).

However, rival scouts are also unsure of this. It makes Mavs extremely isolated going forward at a time when that style is being rewarded rather than defensive. But that often changes in the knockout stages, allowing for more physical play and fewer fouls. Neither Irving nor Dončić are considered quality defenders, and the Mavs were ranked 24th in defense before the deal took place.

“Big risk for Dallas,” a Western Conference scout said. “The fit with Luka is not good.”

However, Irving and his mother, Shetellia Riley Irving, are delighted with the move, a source familiar with their thinking said. Mavs GM Nico Harrison was hired last summer after nearly two decades with Nike, where he’s cultivated relationships with some of the NBA’s biggest stars, including Irving (Harrison has since left the Mavs). before Nike ended its relationship with Irving this fall, a move inspired, in part, by Irving’s tacit endorsement of the anti-Semitic film, “Jews for Blacks, wake up black America!”).

Irving is also said to be excited to play for Hall of Fame point guard and Mavs head coach Jason Kidd.

Of course, Irving was overjoyed after he left Cleveland for Boston Celtics, and again when he left the Celtics after one season to join Durant in Brooklyn. Perhaps that’s why an executive from one of Irving’s first three teams passed the deal.

“Dallas terrible decision,” the executive said. “This is going to be the way it’s always been.”

Cuban seems to think otherwise – and is willing to test his rapidly changing skills to prove it.

Ric Bucher is an NBA writer for FOX Sports. He has previously written for Bleacher Report, ESPN The Magazine and The Washington Post and has written two books, “Rebound,” about NBA forward Brian Grant’s battle with young-onset Parkinson’s disease, and “Yao: A Life In Two Worlds.” He also has a daily podcast, “On The Ball with Ric Bucher.” Follow him on Twitter @Ric Bucher.

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