Kyrie Irving traded to the Dallas Mavericks


Erik Drost

Erik Drost | Flickr

Josias Fernandez

The Brooklyn Nets traded Kyrie Irving to the Dallas Mavericks last weekend, ending the star point guard’s turbulent four-year saga with the team.

The Mavericks sent Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith, a first-rounder and multiple second-round picks to the Nets in exchange for Irving, whose contract expires this summer.

Irving and the Nets have had a love-hate relationship since the beginning. In the summer of 2019, the NBA superstar signed a four-year contract with Brooklyn, joining another NBA superstar in Kevin Durant.

Durant was recovering from an Achilles injury he suffered back in the 2019 NBA Finals with the Golden States Warriors, making him unavailable for the entire 2019-2020 season.

Irving’s career has been centered around drama. Ever since Irving got drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2011, he asserted himself as premier ball handler in the league. Irving’s fancy dribbles and tremendous finishing ability earned him the nickname “Uncle Drew.”

The Cavaliers guard got into his first controversy back in 2017, when he requested to be traded from Cleaveland. In the summer of 2017, the NBA All-Star got traded to the Boston Celtics. Irving spent two years with the Celtics, but his journey with the team ended with a first-round playoff exit against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Irving and Durant were considered one of the best duos in the league, instantly transforming the Nets into a championship contender. The addition of former MVP James Harden from the Houston Rockets turned the Nets into a championship favorite.

But this “big-three” team has become one of the biggest “what-ifs” in NBA history. The trio managed to play a total of 16 games together. After barely a year, Harden got traded to the Philadelphia 76ers.

Controversy surrounding Irving picked up again at the start of the 2021-2022 season when it was revealed he was still unvaccinated against COVID-19. Irving’s decision cost him almost the entire season, as he was allowed to only play in cities without looser vaccine requirements.

This season, Irving is putting up career-high numbers. He was named an NBA All-Star starter, his eighth All-Star game selection. But things were not going well in Brooklyn, as Irving and the Nets front office did not agree on a contract extension.

Some reports state that Irving wanted a four-year, $198 million contract extension, but the Nets were only willing to grant him a short-term contract with additional clauses. The Nets were concerned about Irving’s ability to stay out of problems off the court.

On Feb. 3, after not agreeing on a contract extension, Irving requested a trade from the Brooklyn Nets. Two days later, Irving was officially gone. This was the moment when the Nets project officially ended. Durant remains on the team, but he could be the next and final superstar to request a trade from the Nets.

In 143 games with the Nets, Irving averaged 27.1 points, 5.8 assists, and 4.8 rebounds.