For reasons both good and bad, the Dallas Mavericks have been quite an attention-grabbing ball club throughout the 2022-23 campaign. From their blockbuster Kyrie Irving trade made at the deadline to their decision to throw away their hopes of playoff contention toward the back end of the regular season, the franchise has been the subject of numerous talking points throughout. Now, despite the fact that their run has been shut down for nearly two months, the Mavs continue to find themselves making headlines.
Easily the most eye-catching storyline pertaining to the organization of late is the recent report by The Athletic's Shams Charania that their star guard Irving has reached out to current Lakers centerpiece and former teammate LeBron James in an effort to reunite once again, though this time in the Lone Star State.
The duo spent three seasons together with the Cleveland Cavaliers from 2014 through 2017 and won an NBA Championship during the 2016 season.
The partnership came to an unceremonious end during the summer of 2017 after Irving requested a trade to serve as a focal point option for an organization, which was something the presence of James held him from in Cleveland. During the years since, however, it appears the two have mended their relationship, with Irving even being spotted courtside during Los Angeles' Western Conference Finals run during this year's postseason.
Naturally, such happenings have only gone on to spark rumors that the two wish to team up once more, making the latest report by Charania more conspicuous.
However, despite Kyrie Irving's desires, there are many who are of the belief that such a reunion will not be happening any time soon — not with the Mavericks, anyway.
Instead, should the point guard be open to rekindling past relationships in Dallas, there are two players, in specific, that could be more realistic grabs for the franchise to pursue.
Ex-Kyrie Irving teammate Mavs could pursue No. 1) Caris LeVert
Caris LeVert and Kyrie Irving spent one-and-a-half seasons serving as teammates on the Brooklyn Nets from 2019 through January of 2021 before the former was dealt away to the Indiana Pacers in the now-infamous James Harden blockbuster.
Though LeVert may not be that coveted star-type talent like LeBron James is, considering his projected price tag coupled with the means by which he could be acquired, the wing is without a doubt the more realistic target.
The soon-to-be eighth-year veteran is heading into unrestricted free agency after a rather up-and-down second season with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
After struggling to mesh with the club's star duo of Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell in the starting lineup, through 15 games in, Caris LeVert was relegated to the second unit where, despite putting forth more efficient production in this new role, still finished with rather underwhelming averages of 12.1 points, 3.9 assists, 3.8 rebounds, and 1.0 steals per game.
Because of this, his asking price on the open market has likely gone on to take a hit, which could lead to the 28-year-old opting for a shorter-term deal somewhere to try and raise his stock for a larger payday in the not-too-distant future.
Joining a title-hopeful team like the Mavs could be an intriguing place for him to pursue such an endeavor.
While he'd likely still serve as a reserve, Caris LeVert would be looked upon as the clear-cut leader of the second unit alongside Christian Wood which, considering how effective he was in such a role with the Cavs (posted 10.2 points, 3.4 rebounds, 3.1 assists on 45% shooting), could be a gem of an asset to have within head coach Jason Kidd's rotation.
Ex-Kyrie Irving teammate Mavs could pursue No. 2) Jaylen Brown
And now for the more ambitious target…
Considering the blockbuster trade made for Kyrie Irving at this year's deadline coupled with the rumblings that the front office could be open to spicing things up even more this summer with a trade, it's evident that the Mavericks are willing to make big splashes in an effort to try and keep cornerstone Luka Doncic happy.
Though perhaps not flush with top-notch assets, the idea of Dallas targeting a disgruntled star in a possible offseason transaction is far from egregious, and perhaps the most noteworthy talent believed to be in this category is Irving's former teammate, Jaylen Brown.
The duo spent two seasons together with the Boston Celtics before the point guard's tumultuous 2019 free agency period that saw him jump ship for the divisional rival Nets. Despite the brutal end to Irving's tenure in Beantown, he and Brown have kept their friendship intact.
Should the two-time All-Star request out from Boston as some already fear, could said friendship lead him out to Dallas for a reunion?
Since Irving's departure from the Celtics, Jaylen Brown has become one of the league's top wings. This past season, he went on to nab his first All-NBA nod and posted career averages virtually all across the board, sporting stellar numbers of 26.6 points, 6.9 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 1.1 steals on 49.1% shooting from the field.
Again, this is certainly an ambitious target for the Mavericks to consider. That said, if there's any belief that they could somehow piece together a worthwhile package to have a chance of pursuing the likes of LeBron James, then they could easily find a way to entice the Celtics in a hypothetical Jaylen Brown trade, albeit for what would be presumed to be a slightly smaller outbound package.