The Dallas Mavericks rocked the NBA world on Sunday, acquiring Kyrie Irving from the Brooklyn Nets in a stunning blockbuster trade that sends Dorian Finney-Smith, Spencer Dinwiddie, a 2029 first-round pick and multiple second-rounders to New York.

The deal comes less than two days after the notoriously unreliable Irving demanded to be dealt by the Nets before Thursday's trade deadline, in wake of the sides' failure to reach an agreement on a contract extension as free agency dawns this summer. Do the Mavericks have confidence they'll be able to retain Irving come July, finally putting a worthy long-term co-star next to MVP candidate Luka Doncic?

That fraught dynamic and many, many more factor into instant trade grades for Dallas and Brooklyn as Irving's wild time in New York finally comes to a close.

Grading the Kyrie Irving trade

Dallas Mavericks

There won't be a more significant upgrade at the trade deadline than Dallas adding a playmaker of Irving's caliber. He's been one of the best offensive players in basketball after returning from suspension on November 20th for promoting an anti-Semitic film, averaging 27.2 points, 5.1 rebounds and 5.3 assists on stellar 61.4% true shooting over his last 32 games.

Those aren't empty-calorie stats, either. Brooklyn owns a +2.2 net rating with Irving on the floor since Kevin Durant went down with an MCL sprain on January 8th, and a -15.4 net when he's been on the bench—the second-biggest split on the team, per

But just because Irving answers the Mavericks' need for another game-changing playmaker next to Doncic doesn't mean this trade is a home run for Mark Cuban and company.

Finney-Smith was by far Dallas' top perimeter defender, capable of guarding up to four positions at a quality level. That onus falls on veteran guard Reggie Bullock and sophomore wing Josh Green now, and while both have proven solid one-on-one defenders, the Mavericks just don't have any quality two-way depth behind them.

Could a team relying heavily on a three-man nucleus of Doncic, Irving and Christian Wood really manage title-level defense? Considering the Mavericks were 24th in defensive rating before swapping Irving for Finney-Smith, the answer seems even more obvious than it does on paper.

Maybe more important are the future ramifications of Dallas pushing its chips in for a player who can't be counted on to not just be on the floor, but simply honor his commitments to teammates and coaches.

Odds are that Mavericks GM Nico Harrison, a former Nike executive, have already had discussions with Irving and his camp about re-upping with Dallas this summer. But if Irving has a change of heart on where he wants to play or goes back on parameters of the wink-wink agreement likely in place between he and the Mavericks before this trade was consummated, Dallas could be out Finney-Smith and that 2027 first-rounder—two pivotal building blocks around Doncic—for nothing.

Don't get too caught up in talk of the Mavericks having max cap space come July if Irving ultimately decides to walk, either. When has big-game hunting in free agency ever paid off for Cuban's team the way he's always dreamed?

It would be absolutely stunning if the Mavericks' reward for bringing in Irving was a championship this season. Given the inherent risk of his very presence not to mention the price paid to get him, Dallas' trade for Irving is a major head-scratcher, reeking of desperation after the team botched Jalen Brunson's free agency last summer.

Final Grade: D+

Brooklyn Nets

The notion Brooklyn would be best served by hanging onto Irving past the trade deadline despite his request to be moved only made sense if the market treated him like a distressed asset.

Instead, the Nets not only got back a pair of impact rotation players at positions of need in Dinwiddie and Finney-Smith, but also begin to re-stock their stable of draft picks after sending multiple first-rounders to the Houston Rockets in exchange for James Harden in January 2021.

Assuming Durant returns from his MCL sprain fully healthy, Brooklyn should still be in contention in the Eastern Conference this season. A starting five of of Dinwiddie, Joe Harris, Finney-Smith, Durant and Nic Claxton with a bench of Ben Simmons, T.J. Warren, Seth Curry, Royce O'Neale, Patty Mills and Yuta Watanabe comprises one of the deepest, most versatile rotations in the NBA. The Nets may not be done dealing, either, likely searching for reinforcements up front before the trade deadline comes and goes on Thursday.

Brooklyn, remember, didn't actually benefit much this season from playing Irving and Durant together. Lineups featuring both of them sported a solid +6.0 net rating, per Cleaning the Glass. That number rose to a gaudy +9.0 with Durant on the floor sans Irving, the Nets' offense somehow getting even better.

There's no telling right now what Irving's departure will mean for Durant in the long run. But Brooklyn should remain a contender for the duration of 2022-23, buoyed by what could be a dominant defense, and both Dinwiddie and Finney-Smith are locked into team-friendly contracts through at least next season. It wouldn't be surprising if Durant's confidence in the organization is higher as a result, all the Nets need to muster an easily passing grade here.

Final Grade: B+