Kyrie Irving to the Dallas Mavericks was one of the major blockbuster trades ahead of the trade deadline in the 2022-23 NBA season, and while his move was supposed to form the league’s best backcourt last season alongside Luka Doncic, the team fizzled out and failed to make the playoffs. Despite the initial flameout, the 31-year-old mercurial guard inked a three-year, $126 million extension with the side, and is set to run it back.
Ahead of the start of the new season, Irving sat down with Nick Angstadt and Isaac Harris on the “Locked On Mavericks” podcast and hinted at why Dallas signed him to a lucrative extension:
“I feel like I’m one of the guys that guards Luka the best. That’s probably why I’m on this team.”
Irving was also quick to add that he was joking and further added that he loved his mischief. There’s no doubt that the confidence in the Mavs training camp is high, despite their collective failure last season.
Doncic was in contention for an MVP run after averaging 32.4 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 8.0 assists from 66 games, and Kyrie Irving was in solid form that he carried from the Nets, propping up 27.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 6.0 assists in his 20 games with his new team.
Can Kyrie Irving and Luka Doncic win an NBA championship together?
Given their skills on the offensive end, both Kyrie Irving and Luka Doncic are a lethal duo. While lack of time together on the court last season could be one of the reasons behind the team not advancing to the postseason. Both players played just nine games together and Irving admitted that the pressure was also a factor.
According to Fox Sports, Irving felt that the team and the duo were left searching for answers after his move to Dallas:
“It was so quick last year. There was so much pressure on us to win now, win big. ‘It’s Luka and Kyrie. Why can’t you guys win games?’ So we were answering a lot of questions that honestly I don’t think we were ready for.”
Now, it’s back to the starting line for the Mavericks and the pair have some help in the form of Seth Curry and Grant Williams. The team is also filled with some promising young names Dereck Lively II and Olivier-Maxence Prosper, who will likely be key in the team’s defense.
The Dallas Mavericks could still be better on the defensive end of the game and perhaps missed out on adding a quality big this summer. But for now, they seem optimistic. As for Irving and Doncic, they have some serious work to do against stiff competition in the West.