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Kyrie Irving is an eight-time All-Star, NBA champion and likely future Hall of Famer, which would seemingly set up quite the bidding war when he hits unrestricted free agency this offseason.
However, that is reportedly anything but the case.
According to NBA reporter Marc Stein, the Dallas Mavericks “appear to be the only confirmed bidder for Irving’s services” as of Sunday. Irving finished his 2022-23 campaign in Dallas after the Brooklyn Nets traded him away, and things seem to be trending differently for other potential landing spots.
For one, the Phoenix Suns are no longer in the picture following a report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski revealing they will acquire Bradley Beal from the Washington Wizards in exchange for Chris Paul, Landry Shamet, multiple second-round picks and a picks swap.
As for the Miami Heat, both Stein and Bleacher Report’s Chris Haynes reported their attention seems to be on acquiring Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard.
And Stein noted the Los Angeles Lakers “have consistently signaled” they have no interest in signing Irving even if it would mean reuniting him with LeBron James. James and Irving led the Cleveland Cavaliers to the 2016 title, but it doesn’t appear there will be another championship run between the pair in Purple and Gold.
Stein suggested the Houston Rockets could eventually become involved for the three-time All-NBA selection but only as a third choice if they are unable to add James Harden or Fred VanVleet.
That leaves Dallas.
Irving’s brief run with the Mavericks went anything but expected at the end of last season, as the team was just 8-12 with him on the floor and fell out of the Western Conference playoffs and play-in tournament.
Yet Stein pointed out they prefer to re-sign the guard and run things back.
They surely hope additional continuity and time together will help the backcourt of Irving and Luka Dončić gel in 2023-24, and it is not a stretch to suggest it will given the overall talent for both players.
Dallas can also offer Irving more money than other potential suitors and seem to be in the driver’s seat toward bringing him back, especially if there isn’t much interest elsewhere.