Rumors of Kyrie Irving going to the Los Angeles Lakers have been floating around for months now after he requested a trade from the Brooklyn Nets. And yes, those rumors persisted even though the Dallas Mavericks acquired Irving in February. The noise is growing much louder now, especially with Irving making appearances at Crypto.com Arena during the Western Conference Finals, much to the delight of Lakers fans.
The Lakers, however, cannot sign Irving outright as they are already maxed out in cap space — not to mention their pending free agency decision on Austin Reaves. Nonetheless, for LeBron James and his former Cleveland Cavaliers running mate to reunite, Los Angeles must acquire him in a sign-and-trade. And the obvious asset to give up is D'Angelo Russell.
Is that really going to be enough for Mark Cuban to trade Kyrie Irving? There's no chance. Here are three reasons why the Mavs should want no part of an Irving-Russell trade with the Lakers.
1. They shouldn't help the Lakers
Reason number one they shouldn't agree to this trade — they shouldn't help a conference rival who is in their way of winning a championship. As long as the Mavs have Luka Doncic, they should be looking to contend for championships. Giving Irving up in exchange for Russell is essentially raising Los Angeles' ceiling, while dropping their own floor to the basement.
The NBA has seen what a LeBron-Kyrie duo can do. What more with Anthony Davis as the third man. The Lakers would be outright favorites, while the Mavericks would take a step back from an already disappointing 2022-23 season.
2. They don't want to pay Kyrie Irving money to D'Angelo Russell
If the Mavs agree to this Irving-Russell sign-and-trade, they might have to pay a similar price tag for the Lakers guard. That means they will essentially be paying Irving money to a guy who struggled mightily during the playoffs.
Lakers Nation was fed up with the lefty point guard's play during the postseason, where he averaged just 13.3 points while shooting 42.6 percent from the field and 31.0 percent from three. That just isn't going to cut it for Dallas as they need more production and support for Doncic in the backcourt.
As talented as Russell is as a scoring guard, he just isn't the magician that Irving is.
3. They still haven't seen the full potential of Luka-Kyrie pairing
Another reason why the Mavericks shouldn't pull the trigger on an Irving-Russell is swap is because they haven't even seen the full potential of the Luka and Kyrie pairing.
On paper, a Doncic and Irving backcourt is as deadly a scoring duo as anyone in NBA history. Both players are elite three-level scorers. But both of them thrive best in isolation situations, which was the skepticism that many pundits pointed as to why this backcourt wouldn't work. Add the fact that both aren't particularly defensive-oriented players, the conversation favors the naysayers even more.
Dallas' record with Doncic and Irving support their argument, too. The Mavs are just 5-11 when the two stars are available, per Statmuse.
Still, the Mavericks will be remiss if they don't do everything they can to keep Irving on the team. As mention, the scoring explosion that the two can provide on any given night is going to be a nightmare for NBA defenses to figure out.