The Dallas Mavericks have completely collapsed since acquiring Kyrie Irving. The Mavericks are 7-12 with Irving in the lineup and 8-16 overall since acquiring him. The Mavericks are following a season in which they reached the Western Conference finals. They were seeded as high as fourth before the Irving deal. Now, they are going to need help just to reach the play-in tournament. As such, the Mavericks have decisions to make about how they want to move forward.
Specifically, they need to decide if it is worth re-signing Irving at the expensive salary he will surely demand. According to Bleacher Report’s Chris Haynes, the plan is indeed to bring Irving back next season. How far they are willing to go in service of that goal, however, remains to be seen.
Irving asked the Brooklyn Nets to trade him in part because they could not come to terms on a long-term contract extension. The Nets reportedly preferred a deal that protected them from Irving’s periodic absences with limited guarantees, while Irving sought something closer to a full, four-year max deal.
At the time, Irving appeared to have a bit of leverage on that front, as the Los Angeles Lakers were expected to consider pursuing Irving in free agency. But with their deadline moves working out wonderfully thus far, The Athletic’s Jovan Buha has reported that the Lakers are not expected to pursue Irving this offseason. With no other obvious fits on the free-agent market, Irving may be forced to take a slightly more team-friendly deal.
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If the Mavericks cannot come to terms with Irving on a new deal, they can somewhat comfortably pivot into offseason cap space. Doing so would mean chasing lesser players in a weak free agency class, but if the Mavericks wanted to pursue someone like Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet as an Irving replacement, they could theoretically do so.
Even if Irving returns to Dallas, the Mavericks still have a number of roster flaws to address. They have virtually no viable big men, and their defense has fallen off of a cliff since last season. If Dallas continues losing, it could keep its top-10 protected pick, which will otherwise go to the Knicks. That would be a valuable trade asset, and the Mavericks will have at least one more future pick to offer in deals.
But the new CBA will make it harder for expensive teams like the Mavericks to add to rosters with multiple max contracts. Fixing this team is going to take far more than Irving’s signature on a new deal this offseason. It is going to mean significant changes across the entire roster. Keeping Irving is a good start, but Dallas has plenty of work to do if it plans to make it back to the Western Conference finals.
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Publish Date:2023-04-05 06:08:27