The Dallas Mavericks made the riskiest and arguably second-biggest move of the NBA Trade Deadline when they acquired Kyrie Irving from the Brooklyn Nets.
Obviously the Phoenix Suns nabbing Kevin Durant was the biggest trade to occur, but the Irving deal isn’t far behind.
Understandably, many have wondered about Irving’s fit alongside Luka Doncic and whether the pair would be able to replicate the magic that Doncic and Jalen Brunson had one year earlier.
Thus far the results have been mixed.
Dallas lost its last game against the Minnesota Timberwolves in particularly unfortunate fashion despite a combined 69 points from Irving and Doncic. Prior to that, the team fell to the Sacramento Kings despite a combined 56 points from them.
After the Mavs’ most recent defeat, Irving was asked point blank about his fit alongside Doncic and how he feels about it.
Mavericks’ Kyrie Irving on his synergy with Luka Doncic after two games:
“It feels great. We just have to get more timely stops and take care of a few possessions. That can go either way. We’re playing in the Western Conference, and I am learning that there’s a lot of… https://t.co/XALA1n4gmN pic.twitter.com/87ZiNwxdPP
— Grant Afseth (@GrantAfseth) February 15, 2023
“It feels great,” Irving replied.
“We just have to get more timely stops and take care of a few possessions. That can go either way. We’re playing in the Western Conference, and I am learning that there’s a lot of physicality [and] a lot of players that go get buckets.
“But towards the end of the game, it is just about will and body positioning and doing the little things to get you a win. Offensive rebounds down the stretch, too. Right now, I am figuring out his pace, especially in the first quarter,” he continued.
As far as Irving is concerned, he clearly feels like the issue here isn’t fit. It’s getting on the same page, adjusting how they want to play and then executing when the moment calls for it.
“Coming out of halftime, figuring out what pace we’re going to play at,” Irving continued.
“When we’re up and running and gunning a little bit and switching on the perimeter, doing things that keep the game going, not taking the ball out of the rim. Forcing them to miss shots and turn the ball over, we’re locked into the details of our adjustments.
“I feel like we play extremely well when we’re doing that. That pace is great for us. But obviously, we can’t wait until the fourth quarter to get it going like that. That’s on me. We will figure it out a little earlier and be aggressive and just be myself.”
This will be a really interesting situation to monitor.
Irving has refused to comment on his future past this season, when he is set to become a free agent. His response to the Los Angeles Lakers not trading for him was telling, as was Rob Pelinka’s answer regarding why that deal didn’t come together.
Last season the Mavericks made it all the way to the Western Conference Finals. Obviously if they get that far this season as well, there is a good chance Irving will get a long-term offer from the front office.
Now that’s how you celebrate Valentine’s Day. https://t.co/Wdc1vcoaGh
— Game 7 (@game7__) February 14, 2023
But if Dallas comes up short, it’s hard not to wonder if perhaps both sides will choose to move on.
Particularly with the Lakers waiting in the wings.
Will Irving and Doncic ultimately get on the same page over the next few weeks? Time will tell.