By SCHUYLER DIXON, Associated Press
DALLAS (AP) — Kyrie Irving is getting his wish. He’s getting traded.
And Luka Doncic is getting another All-Star to help him in Dallas.
The Mavericks and Brooklyn Nets agreed Sunday, Feb. 5, on a blockbuster trade: Irving — the super-talented and often-enigmatic eight-time All-Star point guard — heads to Dallas, ending the pairing with Kevin Durant that never really had a chance to click.
The Nets get Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith and a package of draft picks, according to a person familiar with the terms of the deal who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because it had not been finalized. Dallas also gets Markieff Morris.
The Athletic and ESPN first reported the trade agreement. It will become complete once the teams have a call with the NBA, which is standard for all trades.
The move comes just two days after Irving told the Nets that he wanted to be traded by Thursday’s league deadline, after talks about a contract beyond this season didn’t go to his liking. He wasn’t with the Nets for their game Saturday, and by Sunday afternoon, his time in Brooklyn appeared to be at an end.
It was not immediately clear when Irving would make his debut with Dallas. The Mavericks play at Utah on Monday night. ESPN reported that Irving would take a physical in Dallas on Monday with a plan to join the team for a game Wednesday at the Los Angeles Clippers.
“My first reaction was it seemed like a really good move,” Toronto coach Nick Nurse said Sunday before the Raptors faced Memphis. “(The Nets) got a lot of assets back for a guy who wasn’t going to be back, it seemed. I think that’s important to do. And I think for Dallas, they got a big-time star to go with the one they’ve got.”
Irving is averaging 27.1 points, 5.3 assists and 5.1 rebounds this season. Doncic is averaging 33.4 points, 8.9 rebounds and 8.2 assists. They instantly become one of the NBA’s top duos, and figure to make Dallas even a stronger contender in a Western Conference that has no shortage of championship-capable teams.
Irving is, for now, scheduled to become a free agent after the season. The Los Angeles Lakers were believed to have been one of a few teams interested in Irving — a notion that could have reunited Irving with LeBron James, with whom he won a title with in Cleveland in 2016.
The trade does again pair Irving with Dallas general manager Nico Harrison, who was a Nike executive before taking over the Mavericks in 2021.
Irving had a relationship with Nike for the entirety of his NBA career until earlier this season, when the sneaker giant dropped him — and canceled the planned release of his next signature shoe just before it dropped — as part of the massive fallout from Irving posting a link to an antisemitic film on his Twitter account.
That was one of many drama-filled sagas that marked Irving’s time with the Nets. He wouldn’t get vaccinated against COVID-19 and, because of New York City workplace rules, had to miss most of Brooklyn’s home games last season. He also took two leaves of absence during the 2020-21 season.
He has also expressed no shortage of controversial opinions during his career — including repeated questioning whether the Earth was round before eventually apologizing to science teachers.
The various issues limited Irving to 143 games in three-plus seasons with the Nets, and he and Durant were together for just 74 of them after their celebrated pairing in the summer of 2019. Irving signed as a free agent while Durant joined the Nets on a sign-and-trade with Golden State.
After the Nets lost to Dallas at home in overtime in October, Irving said he saw traits of the Mavericks being “a great team.” And he spoke at length of how highly he thinks of Doncic’s game, after the Mavs star had a 41-point, 14-rebound, 11-assist masterpiece.
“I think first, we’ve got to discuss just how long he’s been playing professional basketball. I think it’s been since like 14, 15 years old,” Irving said that night. “He’s used to seeing so many different defenses, so many different roles that he’s played, I’m sure, overseas. And now that he’s in the NBA, you just see him. He plays at an incredible pace. He makes great decisions.”