Kyrie Irving trade winners, losers: Blockbuster deal further crowds West
Kyrie trade winners, losers: Blockbuster deal further crowds West originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
The NBA never disappoints.
Just when we thought we were heading into a rather boring NBA trade deadline, the Dallas Mavericks shocked the world by trading for Brooklyn Nets star guard Kyrie Irving on Sunday afternoon.
The Mavs traded Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith, a 2029 first-round pick and two second-round picks to the Nets for Irving, an eight-time All-Star guard who requested a trade from Brooklyn two days prior.
Now that the dust has settled, who have emerged as winners and losers from the trade? Let’s dive in:
Winner: Mavericks (short-term)
Dallas now features stars Kyrie Irving and Luka Dončić in the same backcourt. That’s intriguing enough to make the Mavs a winner in this trade for the rest of the season.
Per our partners at PointsBet, the Mavericks’ odds to win the NBA Finals improved from +2000 to +1200 after the trade, meaning a $100 bet would win $1,200. Those odds are the seventh-highest in the NBA and now ahead of Irving's former team (+1400).
The Western Conference already was overcrowded, as just two games currently separate the fifth-seeded Phoenix Suns (29-26) and the 11th-place Portland Trail Blazers (26-27). If Irving and Dončić can hit the ground running, the Mavericks should be able to separate themselves from the pack.
There won’t be much defense played in Dallas, but the offense? Whew. It should be electric.
Loser: Kevin Durant
Brooklyn traded for James Harden in January 2021. The trio of Irving, Harden and Kevin Durant played only 16 games together before Harden was sent to the Philadelphia 76ers last February.
Due to injuries and, well, several off-the-court issues, Durant and Irving only played 74 games together since both players arrived in Brooklyn in June 2019. That’s fewer games than a full regular-season schedule.
Here’s what Durant said to Bleacher Report in November when Irving and Ben Simmons missed significant time early in the season:
"Look at our starting lineup. Edmond Sumner, Royce O’Neale, Joe Harris, [Nic] Claxton and me. It’s not disrespect, but what are you expecting from that group? You expect us to win because I’m out there.”
Now, Durant is left without a true co-star once again.
About four weeks ago, the Nets were thriving.
Brooklyn went on an 18-2 tear from November into mid-January and crept up to second place in the Eastern Conference. It looked like the Nets had figured things out after a summer in which Durant reportedly submitted a trade request to the front office.
But then on Friday, as Durant nurses a knee injury, it was reported that Irving would leave Brooklyn in free agency in July if he wasn’t dealt by the Feb. 9 deadline.
From Irving’s ineligibility to play home games in 2021 to his comments that he plans to “manage the franchise” after postseason disappointment last summer to his controversial tweets, the guard’s run in Brooklyn was anything but stable.
Losing a talent like Irving in the backcourt likely axes the Nets’ championship dreams this season, but receiving two players and future assets for an unreliable star set to depart this summer is a win for the franchise moving forward.
Loser: Mavericks (long-term)
Let’s face it: Irving hasn’t made a positive impact on an NBA franchise since leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2017.
He hasn’t played more than 54 regular-season games since his last season with the Boston Celtics in 2018-19 and never advanced past the second round of the postseason in four tries with Brooklyn.
Irving’s contract expires at the end of this season. He is eligible to sign a two-year extension worth over $80 million with Dallas during the season and a full four-year contract in free agency.
Can Dallas approach contract talks with Irving's camp with any semblance of confidence?
Even if he does strike a new deal with Dallas and vows to be a long-term sidekick alongside Dončić, Irving once voiced a similar message in Cleveland. And in Boston. And he said this in Brooklyn less than one year ago:
The Lakers' pipe dream of Irving rejoining LeBron James in Los Angeles can be put to rest.
Shortly after news of Irving's trade request broke Friday, James posted a tweet that consisted of two emojis that sent NBA Twitter ablaze. Could the Lakers pull off a blockbuster move?
— LeBron James (@KingJames) February 3, 2023
Less than 48 hours later, Lakers fans got their answer: Nope.
Maybe Itâs Me
— LeBron James (@KingJames) February 6, 2023
Per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the Lakers had "several conversations" on a potential deal, but the Nets opted for the Mavs' package of two players and future picks.
Here come the Durant rumors in the Bay Area once again. (Like they ever left?)
Durant reportedly was interested in reuniting with Golden State this summer before rescinding his trade request.
About six months later, the Warriors are in trouble. They are seventh in the Western Conference and will be without guard Steph Curry for multiple weeks as he recovers from a left leg injury.
The Warriors’ two-timeline plan isn’t working. This season, at least. Youngsters like James Wiseman and Moses Moody haven’t lived up to expectations this season and now find themselves on the trading block.
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Would Golden State consider bringing back Durant in the next week? Probably not, but the Phoenix Suns -- fifth in the West at 29-26 -- reportedly are monitoring the situation as they look to get over the championship hump with guards Devin Booker and Chris Paul.
Maybe ... just maybe ... the Warriors should do the same?
Not winner, not loser: Kings
Sure, Irving joining the Mavericks crowds the West playoff picture even more and adds another All-Star talent to the backcourt in a loaded conference. But did the deal really affect the Kings?
Irving reportedly will make his debut with the Mavericks against the Clippers on Wednesday. Dallas then travels to Sacramento for a back-to-back at Golden 1 Center on Friday and Saturday, which means the Kings will get a chance to wreak havoc on the Mavs' new backcourt as they try to sort things out.
The beam stays lit, no matter where Irving suits up.