The Dallas Mavericks have to bring back Kyrie Irving this summer. They traded three draft picks and two starters for the 31-year-old superstar in February, but he is set to become an unrestricted free agent just months after an epic collapse forced the Mavs to miss the playoffs. Dallas won just eight of the 20 games that Irving played in as the team nosedived from fourth to 11th in the Western Conference and missed the playoffs.
There is fear among some fans that Kyrie has already played his last game with the Mavericks. He is free to sign with any team this summer and showing up at the Lakers game on Friday night only sparked those rumors further.
The Athletic’s Tim Cato offered the latest (subscription required) on his upcoming free agency, and it should only strengthen the team’s belief that they can keep Kyrie long-term.
Dallas Mavericks rumors: Odds to sign Kyrie Irving improve as rumored suitor not interested
Cato notes the Mavs “remain optimistic about their ability to re-sign Kyrie this summer”, and “it is, league sources say, the expectation other teams have as well”. Fans should be happy to read that, but there will still be skepticism, especially after Jalen Brunson’s departure last summer. The front office deserves all the blame there, and the Mavs are set on not making the same mistake twice this summer.
In Cato’s piece, he also says “the Lakers are disinterested in pursuing him in free agency” per his sources. It should not be surprising after LA made a significant turnaround by acquiring D’Angelo Russell, Jarred Vanderbilt, Malik Beasley, and Rui Hachimura at the trade deadline. The Lakers would have to get rid of all those pieces to sign-and-trade for Kyrie.
Things could change quickly on the Lakers front, though. If LeBron wants it to happen, it usually goes down. Remember, the Lakers had a deal in place for Buddy Hield before LA shifted focus and acquired Russell Westbrook. James wanted the former MVP, and he got his wish, but things did not work out.
Could LeBron do something similar with his friend and former teammate Kyrie Irving? The duo won the championship together in 2016 with the Cleveland Cavaliers, and both have interest in reuniting. Does James decide to form a “Big 3” in LA or is he happy with the Lakers' current roster, who is gearing up to play the defending champion Warriors in the second round of the playoffs?
Kyrie Irving’s free agency promises to be drama-filled this summer. The Dallas Mavericks have to bring him back, but at what cost? Kyrie wants a max contract. Can the Mavs figure out a deal that works for both sides? Stay tuned to find out.