The Kyrie Irving trade was a big risk and he could thrive alongside Luka Doncic if Irving returns to Dallas, but only if Doncic buys in.
Publicly and privately, Doncic has been happy for Irving to be sharing the spotlight with him at the Mavs, but as for on-court responsibilities go, he is reluctant to give those up.
“I do think there’s some skepticism going forward for what they’re going to offer him,” one anonymous GM told Heavy Sports.
“Like they’re not completely naïve. But Kyrie’s behavior was excellent. It was more the fact that Luka had to adjust to playing with such a great player. Everyone there has been saying Kyrie is incredible, and that’s in private, too. Luka’s said it and he means it. But I think that he just doesn’t want to share. He just doesn’t know how. He’s out there on the court and the ball has been in his hands; no matter what, it’s his ball. And now there’s actually consideration that I might need to pass the ball to somebody else and let them do the magic, instead of me just waiting for the clock to run down and shoot a step-back 3 from the hash mark.
“Making All-NBA and being in the MVP conversation, those things will be tarnished a little bit if you are playing with someone else that on one-third of the nights needs the ball and is better than you at those times.”
Doncic is used to being a one-man band in Dallas and having a veteran superstar as his right-hand man may take some getting used to.
But if Luka really won’t share, whether that be a conscious or unconscious choice, Dallas may struggle for many years to come.
Dallas were 5-11 in games when Irving and Doncic both played, and the franchise went from playoff contenders to lottery contenders in a matter of weeks.
The team were also fined $750,000 for tanking the last regular season games.