The Brooklyn Nets acted fast after the shocking Kyrie Irving trade request on Friday. The team fielded offers for a day or so and then pulled the trigger on a deal within 48 hours. The team ultimately accepted the Dallas Mavs’ deal of Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith, an unprotected in 2027, and two second-round picks. And that was the right move for the Nets. Despite offers from the Los Angeles Lakers, Phoenix Suns, and interest from the Los Angeles Clippers, Joe Tsai and Sean Marks picked the Mavs offer, and they were right for doing so.
The Nets picked the right Kyrie Irving trade offer from the Mavs
The Kyrie Irving trade demand came out of left field for NBA fans, but it’s fair to ask if the Nets may have been more ready for it than most. The franchise knew they were trying to put protections in Irving’s contract extension and that he and his agent — his stepmother, Shetellia Riley-Irving — weren’t happy about that.
The fact that the team pulled off a trade within 48 hours suggests the team was prepared for this scenario. And that’s why they officially fielded the offers from the interested parties and chose the best one.
Reports from multiple outlets say there were five teams with potential interest in Irving. That was the Mavs, Lakers, Suns, Clippers, and Knicks. When it came time to put together an official offer, it looks like both the Knicks and Clippers never got that far.
The Nets did get offers from three teams in the end.
The first offer came in within 18 hours of the Kyrie Irving trade request, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. That was from the Suns, and they proposed Chris Paul, Jae Crowder, and a first-round pick for Irving.
The Lakers offered Russell Westbrook and two first-round picks, and the Mavs offered Dinwiddie, Finney-Smith, and the one first-round pick.
Those were the three offers on the table.
Charania also reported that the Nets asked the Suns for two more picks and asked the Lakers for young players Austin Reaves and Max Christie as well as pick swaps for future first-round picks. Both teams balked at the request and Irving ended up in Dallas.
But the question is, were the Nets right to take the Mavs’ offer and not the Suns or Lakers’ proposals?
The Suns’ offer would have been best if they did include the three first-round picks. A Kevin Durant-Chris Paul pairing would have made for an interesting second half of the season, and if Jae Crowder could return to form, he is a helpful piece as well.
However, Paul is 37 and is at career lows or near-career lows in points (13.8), assists (8.6), and steals (1.4) per game. He’s a useful piece for maybe one more season after this year, but even that is doubtful. And as for Crowder, he’s a valuable 3-and-D wing, which many teams around the NBA need. The Suns have let the 32-year-old languish this season, not playing since last year. Who knows what he brings a team in 2023?
As for the Lakers deal, let’s start by saying that it sounds like it was never going to happen anyway. Owner Joe Tsai reportedly put his foot down after the Kyrie Irving trade request and said he wouldn’t give in to his star PG and send him where he wanted to go after all the drama of the last few seasons.
But let’s say that wasn’t the case. Is Westbrook’s $47 million expiring and two picks — as good as they might be in 2027 and 2029 — a great deal? No. Again, adding the young players to it would have made it on par with the Mavs deal, but the pick swaps were extra to kill the deal.
In the end, the Nets did the right thing by taking the Mavs’ offer. They got one future first, which is in line with what the Suns were offering. And they got two younger players in Dinwiddie (29) and Finney-Smith (29) who can help KD this season and beyond, unlike Westbrook, Paul, or Crowder.
It was the best choice for the Nets because it keeps the franchise’s 2023 hopes alive and, hopefully, keeps Durant in Brooklyn at least through the trade deadline. And, the players coming back from the Mavs offer a lot more value in the future if KD decides he does want out this summer. Dinwiddie and Finney-Smith could bring back picks, young players, or expiring contracts that Paul, Crowder, and Westbrook could not.