By Nadia Liu
The Brooklyn Nets officially agreed to trade Kyrie Irving to the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith, and future draft picks. In his press conference as a new Mavericks’ member, Irving told reporters, “I want to be places that I’m celebrated and not just kind of tolerated or just kind of dealt with in a way that makes me feel respected.” The trade ends Irving’s problematic stint in Brooklyn, including his refusal to get vaccinated and his anti-semitic comments.
Irving, an eight-time NBA All Star, has averaged 27.1 points, 5.3 assists, and 5.1 rebounds per game this season. He joins Mavericks point guard Luka Doncic, who averages 33.4 points, 8.9 rebounds, and 8.2 assists. Since Jalen Brunson’s trade in the offseason, Doncic has almost single-handedly driven the Maverick’s offensive power. The duo is sure to propel Dallas up the Western Conference rankings. Doncic told reporters that he loves and respects “my guys” (Dinwiddie and Finney-Smith), “but Kyrie’s Kyrie, man.” Doncic, who missed three consecutive games due to a right heel contusion, played alongside Irving for the first time on Feb. 11 against the Sacramento Kings.
Irving made his Mavericks debut on Feb. 8, after just one practice with the team. He led Dallas to a 110-104 victory over the LA Clippers, racking up 24 points and five assists in 37 minutes. The Mavericks offense flowed smoothly despite the recent addition, with Irving making a point to play within the flow of the game instead of trying to dominate the ball: “I think the most important thing that we stressed as a team was just don’t force the ball to me. We talked about that as a squad where we just want to play natural basketball.”
During his stint with the Nets, controversy constantly followed Irving. He refused to get vaccinated against Covid-19, causing him to miss almost the entire home schedule during the 2021-22 season. The Nets then suspended Irving for eight games after he posted a link to an antisemitic movie on Twitter and failed to “unequivocally say he has no antisemitic beliefs,” which also ended his long relationship with Nike. On the day the Nets reinstated him, Irving said, “I don’t stand for anything close to hate speech or antisemitism or anything that is going against the human race.”
Quickly following the Irving trade, the Nets also traded Kevin Durant to the Phoenix Suns in a four-team trade. The Suns also received forward T.J. Warren in exchange for Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson, and multiple first-round picks. When asked about the news, Irving replied, “I’m just glad he got out of there. I’m just praying for his happiness and praying for his well-being.”
(Sources: ESPN, NBA, NY Times)
Categories: National Sports, Sports
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