One of the Dallas Mavericks‘ top priorities this summer will undoubtedly be to sign Kyrie Irving to a new deal. Dallas made a move for the star guard ahead of the trade deadline, accepting the risk that he could walk away this offseason.
An anonymous Western Conference general manager hinted to Heavy Sports‘ Sean Devaney that the Mavericks All-Star could not only leave the team this summer, but also take a pay cut in doing so.
“Kyrie will have to decide what he wants to do next—does he want to pick where he wants to go and take a taxpayer exception (about $7 million) or does he want to make as much money as he possibly can? Because the Mavs will give him more than anyone else will, so if that is the decision, then it is pretty simple,” the source told Devaney. “But, we have seen how Kyrie is with teaming up with players. Could he take $7 million to go play with LeBron and the Lakers, or take $7 million to play in Phoenix? Miami was interested, too. They would be again. Sure, he has said that money is not that important and this would be how he could show it, I suppose.”
Anonymous GM Pumps Breaks on Kyrie Leaving Mavericks For Suns
Shortly, after the deadline passed, rumors surfaced that Irving would be interested in joining the Phoenix Suns to team up with ex-Brooklyn Nets teammate Kevin Durant.
Devaney’s source laughed when pitched that scenario. The source then hinted that Irving was part of the reason that KD wanted to leave the Nets in the first place.
“(Laughs) Are we sure that Durant wants Kyrie in Phoenix?” The anonymous executive questioned. “There was a reason the guy (Durant) wanted out of Brooklyn and it was not just the coach and the ownership.”
Durant requested a trade from the Nets early last summer on June 30, 2022. The demand came just three days after Irving had opted into the final year of his contract on June 27, 2022.
Mavericks Have to ‘Thread the Needle’ to Keep Kyrie Irving Happy
When the time eventually comes for the Mavericks to negotiate a new contract with the 30-year-old star, they’re going to have to do so carefully.
Devaney’s source explained that the front office will have to “thread the needle” to not only protect themselves, but also to keep Irving happy.
“Dallas invested a lot in him and they did that with a little bit of an understanding that Kyrie would not be opposed to staying there. They have to thread the needle with his contract. They have to make sure there are protections in there for the team without offending him, we have seen he can be very sensitive,” he explained to Devaney. “But they’re going to keep him. They gave up way too much for him. They gave up Dinwiddie and they really miss Dorrian Finney-Smith already, and to lose a first-rounder, too, for a guy who misses so many games and is going to be a free agent? You had better not let him get away.”