Kyrie Irving is re-signing with the Dallas Mavericks on a three-year, $126 million deal, according to The Athletic's Shams Charania. The deal includes a player option in the third season, according to Charania. Irving arrived in Dallas in February when extension talks between himself and the Brooklyn Nets broke down and he asked for a trade.
Brooklyn obliged, sending him to Dallas and close friend Kevin Durant to the Phoenix Suns days later, ending a tumultuous run that never made it past the second round of the postseason. Irving notably missed the bulk of the 2021-22 season when he refused to abide by a New York City vaccine mandate and was suspended early in the 2022-23 season for sharing the link to an antisemitic documentary on his social media platforms.
When the Mavericks landed Irving at the trade deadline, they likely expected him to partner with Luka Doncic and push them into championship contention. That isn't what happened. The Mavericks, who were in the thick of the playoff race in February, ultimately missed the play-in round entirely. Irving and Doncic both posted strong individual numbers together, but the two never successfully figured out how to play with those remaining, and the Dallas defense fell off of a cliff. The Mavericks ultimately elected to sit their best players in their final games in order to maximize their odds of keeping their 2023 first-round pick rather than sending it to New York as the final component of the Kristaps Porzingis trade.
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The Mavericks used that pick to kickstart the remaking of their roster on draft night. Starting at No. 10, they convinced the Oklahoma City Thunder at No. 12 to take on the albatross contract of Davis Bertans in order to swap spots. That saved the Mavericks a significant amount of money, and they still wound up landing the prospect they were expected to pick either way, Duke center Dereck Lively. With their newfound financial flexibility, they absorbed the contract of Richaun Holmes from the Sacramento Kings, who were trying to clear cap room. Holmes can immediately join their center rotation and perhaps start for them, and for taking on the contract, the Mavericks got the No. 24 overall pick, which they used on Olivier-Maxence Prosper.
These moves and the others that will surely come this offseason were designed to put a more sensible roster around Irving and Doncic. Only time will tell whether or not they succeeded on that front, but the pressure to win right now is high. Rumors have suggested that Doncic may grow unsatisfied if things don't turn around in Dallas quickly. Keeping Irving was an important step for the Mavericks, but there is still plenty of work left to be done.