NBA: Nets trade All-Star guard Irving to Mavericks, say reports

Kyrie Irving had been linked to several clubs after the bombshell announcement of his request to be traded before the Jan 9 trade deadline. PHOTO: NYTIMES

LOS ANGELES – Kyrie Irving is on his way out of New York after 3½ scandal-filled years in which the Brooklyn Nets fell way short of realising their aspirations of seriously contending for a National Basketball Association (NBA) championship.

The Athletic reported on Sunday that the Nets will get Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith and multiple draft picks in the exchange with the Dallas Mavericks.

Irving had been linked to several teams, including the Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers, after the bombshell announcement of his request to leave before Thursday’s NBA trade deadline.

Asked about the prospect of a reunion with former teammate Irving, Lakers star James had said on Saturday: “I don’t speak for our front office. My mindset is whatever line-up or whatever group that we have is to make sure we prepare ourselves the best way we can.

“Obviously, that’s a, what’s the word you use, ‘duh’ question when you talk about a player like that.”

Irving reportedly asked for a move after failing to agree to a contract extension. The Nets had opted not to offer him a fully guaranteed maximum contract before the season and The Athletic reported that the Nets had offered him a contract with “guarantee stipulations” that was “not well received”.

ESPN reported that talks between the Nets and Mavs “accelerated” on Sunday.

The trade would bring Dinwiddie back to Brooklyn, where he played for five seasons before a knee ligament injury early in the 2020-21 campaign.

Irving, who won an NBA championship with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016, is averaging more than 27 points, five rebounds and five assists per game this season, carrying the load offensively for Brooklyn since a knee injury sidelined Kevin Durant.

Irving was selected with the first overall pick of the 2011 NBA draft by Cleveland, where he spent six seasons before being traded to the Boston Celtics.

The Nets signed Irving in mid-2019 on a four-year deal, with hopes that he and Durant could bring an NBA championship to Brooklyn but the best the duo could do was a second-round appearance in the 2021 play-offs.

Irving’s four seasons in Brooklyn have included controversy. He missed dozens of games last season due to his refusal to be vaccinated against Covid-19.

This season he was suspended for eight games after a social media post referencing a film that contained anti-Semitic themes and initially refusing to apologise.

In all, Irving has played less than 150 games over the last four seasons. However, there is no doubt his skills could complement those of Dallas star and Most Valuable Player candidate Luka Doncic, who is averaging 33.4 points per game but is putting in massive minutes as he carries the offensive weight for the team.

At 28-26, the Mavericks are sixth in the Western Conference standings after a loss to the Golden State Warriors on Saturday, which Doncic missed because of a bruised heel.

Shortly after news of the trade broke, the Mavericks’ NBA title odds were slashed in half by DraftKings. A +3,000 long shot to win the NBA title at the start of Sunday, Dallas improved to become the eighth-shortest odds at +1,500.

The Mavericks are also eighth at BetMGM, where they have even shorter title odds at +1,200. They won their only NBA title in 2011, after losing in the 2006 Finals. AFP, REUTERS, NYTIMES

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