After a few years of having a substandard roster around Luka Doncic, the Dallas Mavericks have finally gotten him some help by trading for virtuoso guard Kyrie Irving earlier this month.
But he comes with his risks, and one of them is the fact that he’ll be a free agent this summer. Irving will reportedly be asking for a maximum contract extension that could be worth a mammoth sum.
“But Irving will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason, and multiple league sources indicate he’s expecting a max salary in July,” wrote Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report. “Based on the NBA’s current salary cap projection of $134 million for 2023-24, Dallas can pay Irving up to $272 million over five years. But will they need to go that high?”
The All-Star guard asked the Brooklyn Nets to trade him, and amidst a hot trade market for him, Dallas swooped in with an offer the Nets accepted. They received guard Spencer Dinwiddie, frontcourt player Dorian Finney-Smith, a future first-round draft pick and two second-round picks in return for Irving.
In five games with the Mavs, he has averaged 27.2 points and 6.8 assists per game while shooting 54.5 percent from the field and 46.2 percent from 3-point range.
While the Mavs may not be legitimate championship contenders with him on board now, they will certainly make some noise in the playoffs, and they should at least have a real shot at making it to the Western Conference Finals for the second straight season.
They came into Sunday in sixth place in the Western Conference with a 32-29 record, and they’re three games behind the surprising Sacramento Kings for the third spot in the conference.
While Dallas looks like a more potent offensive team with Irving, its big problem continues to be defense. It ranks 23rd in defensive rating and still lacks a legitimate shot-blocker or defensive presence in the middle.
Owner Mark Cuban has always shown a willingness to spend big in order to field a winning team. He will have to continue to do so, as well as get creative with his resources, to bring Dallas its second NBA championship within the next few years.