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Good morning to everyone but especially to...


When I wrote to you on Friday, dear readers, all was well -- or at least quiet -- on the Nets front. Top-four seed in the East, Kevin Durant nearing a return, Kyrie Irving keeping things afloat... not much to note.

My, how things change. Considering it's the Nets, maybe we should have expected that. The Nets traded Irving to the Mavericks, just two days after he requested a trade seemingly out of nowhere. Here are the details:

Let's start with the Mavericks, who finally got the second star that face of the franchise Luka Doncic desperately wanted. Irving comes with plenty of misgivings -- defensively, injury-wise and off the court (we'll expand on that in a minute) -- but there's a reason Dallas earned a solid mark in our Sam Quinn's trade grades:

  • Quinn: "They still have plenty of assets to work with. By sending out their 2029 first-round pick, the Mavericks retained access to their 2025 and 2027 picks as trade fodder. ... They can pretty comfortably move two first-round picks for the right player. In Tim Hardaway Jr. and Davis Bertans, they also have two sizable mid-tier salaries to use for such a deal that wouldn't have a major impact on the immediate rotation. ... The Mavericks aren't done, and their team should make a whole lot more sense come Thursday."

As for who could be next, our Jasmyn Wimbish has three more trade targets for DallasBasically, the Mavericks got a superstar, and because he came at a discount (relative to his on-court abilities), there's room for more moves.

Credit to the Nets, for making the best of a very, very difficult situation. There were offers with more/better future assets, but when you have Durant, you have to think of now. In Finney-Smith -- a terrific defender -- and Dinwiddie -- a capable creator and scorer who averaged 20.6 points in his last full season in Brooklyn -- the Nets did just that. And like the Mavericks, the Nets may not be done yet, writes our James Herbert.

  • Herbert: "If the Nets make no more moves before Thursday's trade deadline, then they have willingly sacrificed star power and scoring for lineup flexibility and a sense of stability. ... The Nets, who have never wavered about being in win-now mode throughout all sorts of drama and dysfunction, have time to add firepower to the roster. And they have the tools. Thanks to this deal with Dallas, GM Sean Marks can offer up to four first-round picks... [and] seven second-round picks."

Because of that flexibility, our Brad Botkin opines that Durant should be more willing to stay in Brooklyn, and our Colin Ward-Heninger even had the Nets on the right side of his winners and losers column.

Here's how the NBA reacted to the deal.

Honorable mentions

And not such a good morning for...


For the first time ever, we have the same teams getting a good morning and a not such a good morning. Ah, the enigma that is Kyrie Irving. Let's start with Brooklyn this time, as the Nets never go more than a few weeks without drama of some magnitude, on or off the court:

  • One year ago, Irving, Durant and James Harden were on this roster. Now, it's just Durant. That trio played just 16 games together.
  • Superstars of Irving's caliber rarely leave in this manner. It's been over a decade since an All Star switched teams during the season. There are plenty of reasons Brooklyn earned a "C" in the trade grades.

Dallas, meanwhile, backed itself into a corner and made this move out of desperation, writes Bill Reiter.

  • Reiter: "The desperation to see Doncic equipped with enough talent. The desperation to take advantage of that wide-open conference. The desperation to believe, as the Celtics and Nets have before them, that Irving will be the great thing you want to see when glancing under deadline pressure at his Rorschach test. ... History tells us it's unlikely to work."

Irving also may wind up just being a very expensive rental; the Mavericks reportedly have not promised him a new contract.

Not so honorable mentions

Stephen Curry's injury is latest hurdle for Warriors 😬


Stephen Curry is out indefinitely due to partial tears to his superior tibiofibular ligaments and interosseous membrane, as well as a lower leg contusion. He suffered the injury Saturday against the Mavericks.

  • It's the second time Curry will miss significant time this season. He also missed 11 games with a shoulder subluxation.
  • The Warriors are currently tied for eighth in the West and only a game away from being out of play-in position.
  • This season, Golden State has a +4.3 net rating with Curry on the court. That would rank fifth in the NBA. With Curry off the court, Golden State has a -3.3 net rating. That would rank 27th.

With so little margin for error and the season over halfway gone, the Warriors' quest for momentum continues, Colin writes.

College basketball roundup: Down goes No. 1 Purdue; Jim Boeheim takes back harsh NIL claims 🏀

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It's not easy being on top. Especially against your biggest rival. No. 1 Purdue found that out the hard way, falling at No. 21 Indiana, 79-74.

  • Trayce Jackson-Davis (25 points, seven rebounds, five blocks) and Jalen Hood-Schifino (16 points) led the way for Indiana.
  • Purdue star Zach Edey (33 points, 18 rebounds) dominated again, but it wasn't enough for the Boilermakers, who had 16 turnovers, double the Hoosiers' eight.
  • Purdue remains a 1 seed in Jerry Palm's Bracketology and No. 1 overall in Gary Parrish's Top 25 And 1.

Elsewhere across the country...

Despite the loaded weekend, Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim may have made the biggest headlines. After the Orange won at Boston College, Boeheim railed against NIL and claimed that Pittsburgh, Wake Forest and Miami all "bought a team." Wake Forest coach Steve Forbes strongly denied that, and Boeheim apologized to Forbes.

Despite saying college basketball is in an "awful place," Boeheim, 78, is also leaning toward returning next season. 

Martin Truex Jr. back in Victory Lane as NASCAR returns 🏁

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NASCAR is back, and so is Martin Truex Jr. The 42-year-old former NASCAR Cup Series champion won the Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum in a caution-filled exhibition start to the 2023 season.

Truex, who won 29 races between 2015 and 2021, was held out of Victory Lane completely in 2022, marking his first winless season in the Cup Series since 2014. His last Cup win was at Richmond in September 2021. He was able to flip the script this time, though, overtaking Ryan Preece for the lead with 25 laps to go and staying ahead of the pack the rest of the way.

Austin Dillon and Kyle Busch finished second and third, respectively, to round out the podium. Preece, who led a race-high 43 laps, finished seventh.

The season officially starts Feb. 19 with the Daytona 500.

What we're watching Monday 📺

🏀 No. 13 Virginia Tech at No. 15 NC State, 6 p.m. on ESPN2
🏀 Duke at No. 23 Miami, 7 p.m. on ESPN
🏀 Clippers at Nets, 7:30 p.m. on NBA TV
🏀 No. 10 Texas at No. 8 Kansas, 9 p.m. on ESPN
🏀 Bucks at Trail Blazers, 10 p.m. on NBA TV