Report: Kyrie Irving likely returning to Dallas, 10th pick in play

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Now that the Mavericks know their draft fate, more reports are swirling about what the Mavericks might do with the 10th pick of the upcoming 2023 NBA Draft. A report from Eric Pincus from Bleacher Report says it’s likely the pick is traded, in addition to Kyrie Irving returning to Dallas.

With the NBA Draft Combine happening in Chicago last week, along the Draft Lottery, lots of team officials and executives were in one place at the same time. When that happens, people talk and stories are born. Pincus talked to mostly rival executives and player agents, and the general mood around the league is that Irving and the Mavericks come to a deal this summer.

The Dallas Mavericks were the undercard of the NBA’s draft lottery with their precarious hold on the No. 10 pick. The 34.1 percent chance it would drop and convey to the New York Knicks was a source of anxiety for the franchise.

But the odds prevailed, and the team got a critical piece to help give Luka Dončić and Kyrie Irving badly needed depth, whether in the draft itself or via trade.

Yes, Dončić and Irving both—at least as multiple competing sources indicated at the NBA’s draft combine in Chicago.

“I hear they had a handshake deal before the trade [with the Brooklyn Nets],” one source said. “And Kyrie wouldn’t have said yes to anything less than the max.”

One source told Pincus that the deal will likely be for three years plus a player option, lining up with the length of Luka Doncic’s current contract. League sources told Pincus that Irving is likely worth more to Dallas than the rest of the teams, especially ones with cap room.

For the 10th pick, sources told Pincus the likely objective is to trade it for help, while also shedding a bad contract like JaVale McGee or Davis Bertans. Familiar trade target Suns center DeAndre Ayton was mentioned once again.

More than one NBA source said they expect Dallas to be a likely destination for Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton. Dončić and Ayton share an agent (Bill Duffy of WME Sports) and are said to have a good relationship.

“The Suns need depth. I can see them getting Tim Hardaway Jr., JaVale [McGee] back, Josh Green and No. 10,” another source said. “Phoenix would probably flip the pick to another team for depth, or maybe it’d be a big multi-team deal.”

Dallas can offer others like Maxi Kleber, Dāvis Bertāns, Reggie Bullock and Jaden Hardy. But Kleber is said to be one of Dončić’s best friends on the team (and one of its better players) and the least likely to be dealt.

Whatever the moves, the Mavericks need to add depth in defenders, shooters and athletes to support Dončić, Irving and, if a Phoenix swap goes through, Ayton.

It must be repeated that Pincus sourcing was from being in Chicago at the lottery and combine, so mostly rival teams and agents. There isn’t much in the story that indicates the sourcing is coming from Dallas, so take all this with a grain of salt. Read the full story for some additional details about how Dallas expects to manage their cap this summer.

As we get closer to the NBA Draft, expect more of these reports to come.

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