The Kyrie Irving trade: A rare win-win

The Brooklyn Nets receive two elite role players, and Irving teams up with Luka Dončić.


Susan Behrends Valenzuela

The Brooklyn Nets might gain from Kyrie Irving’s trade to the Dallas Mavericks. (Illustration by Susan Behrends Valenzuela)

Pablo Ocariz, Staff Writer

Brooklyn Nets superstar Kyrie Irving has been traded to the Dallas Mavericks after requesting a trade this past Friday, Feb. 3. In return, the Nets got back Spencer Dinwiddie and Dorian Finney-Smith, as well as a 2029 first-round pick and two second-round picks.

Irving’s highly publicized trade demand all but confirmed that the controversial star was going to get moved ahead of Friday’s trade deadline. As the Mavericks were desperate to get their own superstar, Luka Dončić, some help, the two sides made the huge move. What will it mean going forward?

Paired up with Luka Magic

Dončić needed help. Desperately. He is putting up video game numbers, night after night, and is one of the favorites to win MVP — yet the team is barely keeping its head above .500. Dončić cannot do everything.

For the Mavericks, this trade was an obvious choice. Dinwiddie is a strong player, but he is not Irving, and while Finney-Smith is a good wing, that does not compare with 27-5-5 on elite efficiency.

Getting a player of the level of Irving to get some of the weight off Dončić’s shoulders, and make the offense less one-dimensional come playoff time, was a must. This team would not work in the playoffs — Luka cannot bail them out every time. Together, Dončić and Irving might.

The firepower of Dončić and Irving is something no one in the Western Conference can match. This is the best dynamic duo in the conference — there is no question about it. They are the only team with multiple all-star starters in the entire league. The roster may be unbalanced, but the potential is undeniable.

Not top tier… yet

With that being said, the Mavericks are still not top tier contenders in the West. 

For one, they essentially have no wings with the loss of Dorian Finney-Smith. Davis Bertans is still a defensive liability, and hurt at the moment. Reggie Bullock averages 6.4 points a game on 39% from the field, and Tim Hardaway Jr. is a shooting guard.

For another, their defensive situation is still not good, and trading for Irving won’t exactly help. They have the seventh-worst defense in the entire league already, with the pair of Christian Wood and Dwight Powell at the 5 not exactly being the best rim-protecting duo in the league.

The bright side is that they found Dončić a star teammate, and they only had to give up one pick to do so. The Mavericks still have time and assets to work within the trade and buyout markets.

If they make a trade to get a wing like Jae Crowder or Jarred Vanderbilt, there could be a case to be made for the Mavericks as the best team in the West. Regardless, Irving and Dončić will be the most dynamic duo Dallas has had since 2011.

So what about the Nets?

Irving had six months on his contract, he had demanded a trade — and the entire league knew the Nets were desperate to part ways with him.

All that considered, they actually did a decent job getting a return. Dinwiddie might not be Irving, but he is still a guard capable of averaging 18 points a game on good efficiency. He is still a very good player, and a decent second option to Kevin Durant.

They also added Finney-Smith. He may not be the flashiest player in the world, but what he gives you is solid shooting and high level defense on the wing. You are adding an elite role player to a lineup already stacked with elite role players, from snipers Seth Curry and Yuta Watanabe, hard nosed defensive players like Royce O’Neale, to Defensive Player Of the Year candidate Nic Claxton.

This trade actually makes it so the Nets remain a contender, albeit a fringe one. They still have Durant, and they have now surrounded him by elite role players in every role you could possibly think of. Ball handlers, shooters, lockdown players — the Nets have it all. 

They might not be the top pick to win the championship, but they still have a shot. That’s about all you could have asked from the Irving trade. This trade went about as well as it could have for Brooklyn.

Contact Pablo Ocariz at [email protected].