After a quiet start to the NBA trade season, Kyrie Irving’s trade demand raised the stakes in a hurry this weekend as a flurry of negotiations occurred before the All-Star point guard landed with the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday.
The deal includes Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith, a 2029 first-round pick and two second-round picks, according to multiple reports. Markieff Morris is also headed to Dallas in the move.
With Irving out of the picture for the Nets, there could be a domino effect on the Celtics and the rest of the NBA trade landscape with three full days remaining ahead of Thursday's trade deadline. L
et’s take a closer look at the potential impacts for Boston as Brad Stevens and company assess an evolving market this week.
Irving heads to Western Conference may drive up asking prices: While the Celtics won’t see Irving in uniform again this year during the regular season, his move towards Dallas signals they will be looking to contend now despite a 28-25 start to the season. That development should put added pressure on teams throughout the West landscape to push their chips towards the middle of the poker table as they attempt to dethrone the Warriors this year. As of Monday morning, just five games separate the Kings at the No. 3 seed in the West and the Lakers at the No. 13 seed. That creates a vast pool of teams that believe they are just one strong month away from homecourt advantage in the West for the first round and potentially beyond.
While it’s unlikely teams that are looking to build for the future (Utah, Oklahoma City) will make a big splash, the pressure will be on the Lakers, Pelicans, Warriors, Suns and Clippers to keep pace with the increased firepower that Dallas acquired (on paper) in Irving. That could drive up asking prices around the league for trade candidates and have a domino effect on the Celtics as they try to maneuver without taking away much from their own core rotation. Boston has a trade exception to use worth $6 million and draft picks but very little in the way of young movable talent beyond Payton Pritchard.
Could Nets push all-in to try to appease Kevin Durant? The Nets took on Kyrie Irving four years ago to help land the superstar forward and now as Irving is sent backing on ugly terms all eyes are now fixed on Durant. He’s just months removed from making a trade request and rescinding it. Now, after seeing his co-star push his way out the door, everyone wonders what lies next for the veteran forward. Would he push his way out now like Irving? Could he do it again this summer? Or will the Nets see this an opportunity to better rebuild the roster around the superstar? Brooklyn’s accepted return from the deal points to the latter as Finney-Smith and Dinwiddie are win-now players that should improve Nets’ size issues on the wing. With an additional first round pick in tow (along with some extra from last year’s deal with the 76ers for Ben Simmons), the Nets could find themselves adding a few more key pieces ahead of Thursday and emerging as a top-tier contender in the East alongside Boston, Philadelphia and Milwaukee.
With the 76ers and Bucks expected to be aggressive in pursuing their own upgrades, the Celtics will likely need to make a move in order to hold onto their top spot in the East standings the rest of the way.