The trade season kicked into hyperdrive Sunday with the news that All-Star Kyrie Irving is heading to the Dallas Mavericks. Only a couple of days after reports surfaced that Irving was requesting a trade, the Brooklyn Nets sent Irving and Markief Morris to Dallas for former Net Spencer Dinwiddie, forward Dorian Finney-Smith, a 2027 and 2029 second-round pick, and a 2029 first-round pick.
The trade wasn’t a shock, as the Nets did not want to keep Irving past the deadline. It was reported that the Nets told teams that they would move Irving to another team quickly. The trade to the Mavericks was surprising, though, as many considered the Los Angles Lakers the favorite to land Irving. More news has emerged since the Irving trade, and we may know what other offers were on the table.
Were the reported trade offers the Nets received from other teams better than the Mavericks deal?
After the Irving trade, some interesting information came out about the short but active trade talks. First, a report surfaced that Joe Tsai, the Nets owner, made it a point not to trade Irving to his preferred destination, the Lakers, which is part of why he went with the Mavericks trade.
We also got a report from Chris Haynes of TNT sports and Bleacher Report, who Tweeted that the Nets received offers from the Lakers and Phoenix Suns.
Sources: Brooklyn Nets received Los Angeles Lakers’ proposal that did include team’s two first-round picks (2027, 2029) and Phoenix Suns’ offer of Chris Paul, Jae Crowder and unspecified picks: @NBATV pic.twitter.com/cJuABbaYGy
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) February 6, 2023
The Lakers offer reportedly involved sending Russell Westbrook and their 2027-2029 first-round picks. It has long been assumed that the Lakers did not want to part with both of their future first-round picks, but it seems they have changed course on that thinking. However, with the report that Joe Tsai wasn’t keen on fully giving into Irving’s demands, it seems the Lakers never had a chance to complete this trade. Even if the Nets were seriously interested in sending Irving to the Lakers, a move involving Westbrook wouldn’t have been the best trade either.
There was also another reported trade offer that, in my opinion, was the better deal. Chris Paul, Jae Crowder, and the unnamed picks, but the Nets also passed on this deal. Paul is owed over $30 million next season and 30 million in 2023-24.
Why the Phoenix Suns deal was a better option
This deal is a better offer because Paul’s contract is only partially guaranteed next season, and there is no guaranteed money in the last season of his contract. So if for some reason, it doesn’t work out or Kevin Durant revisits his own trade demand, you can still move on from Paul, and it won’t wreck your cap space.
Paul does have a long injury history and is probably beyond his prime years, but after struggling to start the season, he has slowly gotten back to the CP3 we have seen the last few seasons. Yes, the Irving and Durant pairing is more dynamic and a bigger threat out East, but having a steadying hand like Paul run the point has its own benefits. You never have to worry about Paul deciding he doesn’t want to play or starting controversies with statements he makes.
Paul could have helped guide the team throughout the season and still provided flashes of his former All-Star level play. You also add in Crowder, who hasn’t played this season, as he is dealing with his own dispute with the Suns. Crowder would have given the Nets another 3 and D player who can play either forward spot and give the Nets roster more flexibility.
Yes, Dinwiddie and Finney-Smith are good players and can contribute in many ways, but neither can have the impact Chris Paul can bring to a team. As I mentioned earlier, you wouldn’t have to worry about being anchored to Paul’s massive contract beyond a partial guarantee next season. Instead, you could have paired Durant with another future Hall of Famer.
The trade with the Mavericks doesn’t move the needle for the Nets, and now you run the risk of Durant also requesting a trade this season or during the off-season. It’s not guaranteed that Durant would not request a trade even if you brought in Paul, but at least it gave you a better chance of keeping Durant. There is no way Durant is going to want to stay with the Nets if he is the only star-level player on the team.
The Nets were in a bad spot, with Irving requesting a trade only days before the deadline and making a quick and decisive move. Unfortunately, I feel they made the wrong move, which could set them back even further.