Irving in Dallas

2 Mins read

No doubt about it. The Mavericks have become much, much more competitive after they landed eight-time All-Star Kyrie Irving in a trade with the embattled Nets. In winning the sweepstakes for the mercurial guard, they latched on to the type of marquee name franchise foundation Luka Doncic had been seeking. They bid goodbye to a bevy of assets in the process, but there was no question that they had to go all in; even with their once-in-a-generation talent posting humongous numbers off an ultimately untenable usage rate, they were merely treading water.

It’s fair to wonder if the Mavericks will be getting the significant short-term gain they’re hoping for from Irving’s arrival. After all, not even the best of talents get to jell from the get-go; Doncic and the others in blue and white need to get acquainted with him on and off the court, and vice versa. That said, they needed change — perhaps any change. It made no sense for them to continue doing what they did given the results; they would have been proving the definition of insanity as doing the same time over and over again, and expecting a different outcome.

How far the Mavericks’ new high-wattage pairing will take them through their 2022-23 campaign remains to be seen. The quick turnaround will not be to their favor. On the other hand, they now have cause to cast moist eyes on a deep postseason run; Irving’s a magician with the ball in his hands, and, with the burden on Doncic to produce at an unsustainable rate eased, they’ll be better equipped to fend off contenders in any long playoff series.

Whether the Mavericks will come close to the hardware is, of course, another matter altogether. Just like Doncic, Irving’s a minus on the other end of the floor. And with dogged on-ball defender Dorian Finney-Smith gone, they’ll be even more hard-pressed to keep their coverages halfway decent. If there’s any good news, it’s that they still have draft picks and ample bait to stay involved in discussions leading up to the trade deadline.

In any case, the honeymoon period figures to be crucial in determining the future. Irving wanted out of the Nets after the latter failed to give him the long-term deal he sought. Will the Mavericks give him what he wants? They’ll be looking at the next two months to determine the answer.

Anthony L. Cuaycong has been writing Courtside since BusinessWorld introduced a Sports section in 1994. He is a consultant on strategic planning, operations and human resources management, corporate communications, and business development.

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