Mark Cuban says Mavericks want to re-sign Kyrie Irving despite years of evidence advising against it

The Dallas Mavericks, winners of five of their last 16 games and on the verge of being knocked out of playoff contention, already have their eye on free agency. Considering the free fall this team has been in since the All-Star break, that makes sense. After pulling off a surprising trade to acquire Mercurial All-Star goaltender Kyrie Irving from the Brooklyn Nets, the Mavericks failed to get the most out of an Irving-Luka Doncic duo and instead fell short over the past two months. of the season.

The Mavericks are just 4-11 with Doncic and Irving on the floor together, partly because the two ball-dominant guards failed to establish some sort of chemistry, but also because of the abysmal defense of Dallas who ranks only 23rd since the All-Star Break. Individually, Irving did exactly what Dallas got him there. He has 26.7 points, six assists and 5.1 rebounds, but that individual success hasn’t translated into wins for the Mavericks. However, despite the Mavericks’ lack of success with Irving, the team still plans to try and re-sign him this summer when he becomes an unrestricted free agent.

In a conversation with reporters ahead of Dallas’ game against the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night, team owner Mark Cuban said the Mavericks ‘want to keep’ Irvingand think that the team has a good chance of retaining him. None of this is surprising from Cuba, given what Dallas gave up to get Irving in the first place. The Mavericks sent Dorian Finney-Smith, Spencer Dinwiddie and a 2029 first-round pick to Brooklyn to bring in Irving, so losing him for nothing this summer would just be bad business. However, as bad as it may seem for the Mavericks to lose yet another free agent, especially after losing Jalen Brunson last summer to the Knicks, there are tangible reasons for Dallas to question Irving’s return. .

As my CBS Sports colleague Bill Reiter wrote of Irving’s time with the Mavericks, there’s little to argue that Irving has had an impact on winning over the past five seasons.

“…For the last five seasons Kyrie’s clubs were as good or better when he was not on the ground. Prior to this season’s trade, Brooklyn won 60% of the games Kyrie appeared in, but he won 67% of the games he appeared in.”

For all of Irving’s individual brilliance, he has failed to lead a team to meaningful playoff success since winning a championship with the Cavaliers in 2016.

But the baggage off the field goes far beyond Irving’s limits on the field. Earlier this season, Irving was suspended for eight games by the Brooklyn Nets for sharing a film on social media filled with anti-Semitic rhetoric. When given ample opportunity to disavow the film’s themes or apologize, Irving refused. Last season, he was limited to just 29 games for not being vaccinated against COVID-19, per New York’s vaccination mandate, making him ineligible for home games. His departures from the three teams he has left: Cleveland, Boston and Brooklyn were unceremonious, leaving a bad taste in every franchise’s mouth upon his exit.

The controversy hasn’t reached Irving’s time in Dallas, but what if – or rather given his history – it does? Irving reportedly seeking a deal with the Nets worth nearly $200 millionit is a significant sum to pay for a player whose level of risk often exceeds his talent as a basketball player.

But that’s the corner Dallas painted itself in by acquiring the controversial guard. By giving up valuable assets to get Irving, the Mavericks somehow have to re-sign him, despite the many reasons why they shouldn’t.

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