The Dallas Mavericks sent shockwaves around the league when they traded for Kyrie Irving Sunday afternoon. Many considered it a forgone conclusion that Irving would go to the Lakers given his prior championship experience playing with LeBron James. However, the Mavericks won out because the Brooklyn Nets viewed their package of Dorian Finney-Smith, Spencer Dinwiddie, a 2029 first-round pick and two second-round picks as a way to keep the team competitive this season, per The Athletic's Shams Charania.
After the news broke that Irving would be traded to Dallas, LeBron tweeted, "Maybe It's Me" possibly referring to his team being unable to trade for his former teammate. But it's not like the Lakers didn't try. The team reportedly offered the Nets a package that included both their 2027 and 2029 first-round picks, according to Bleacher Report's Chris Haynes, in addition to Russell Westbrook, per The Athletic's Shams Charania. But the Nets informed the Lakers that it would take including both Austin Reaves and Max Christie, in addition to pick swaps on top of their original deal, to land Irving. That's when the Lakers backed out, per Charania.
That's quite a haul that the Nets requested from the Lakers, but as Marc Stein reports, it may have been in an act to shake the Lakers of every valuable asset they had if they were going to send Irving to his most preferred destination:
"The Nets also succeeded, as one source close to the process put it, in meeting one of the presumed objectives held by team owner Joe Tsai by sending Irving somewhere other than the Lakers — his preferred destination."
It sounds as though Brooklyn didn't want to send Irving to the Lakers, which explains the hefty asking price.
For the Phoenix Suns, a team that has taken a considerable skid after Devin Booker went down with a groin injury, they wanted to upgrade their point guard position with Chris Paul feeling the effects of Father Time. The Suns offered the Nets a package around Paul, Jae Crowder and one first-round pick, but Charania reports that Brooklyn would've wanted three first-round picks in total. Phoenix then started to lose interest in trying to acquire Irving. Understandably so, given the Mavericks only gave up one first-round pick to land him, so trading away three would've been a massive overpay.
The Clippers were the last team that had serious interest in the controversial All-Star, and The Ringer's Kevin O'Conner reports that the team offered a package of Luke Kennard, Terance Mann, one future first-round pick and two first-round pick swaps. The Clippers needed another contract to add to that deal in order for it to work financially, but nothing ever came of it.
At the end of the day, the Nets went with the Mavericks as they viewed the combination of players and picks as a nice balance to keep the team competitive now, while also using the picks to potentially land another star. My CBS Sports colleague Brad Botkin gave great insight into what Brooklyn could now do with the picks and players it got from Dallas in addition to its existing assets:
"The Nets could still package what they got from Dallas with more future picks and go second-star hunting (Zach LaVine or DeMar DeRozan?), or continue to fortify the support system with sub All-Stars. They own Philly's 2027 first-rounder (top-eight protected) and would have the lesser of their own pick and Houston's pick in 2027 as well, plus their own pick and this Dallas pick in 2029."
Brooklyn's outlook seems rather bright when you factor in all the moves it could make after this trade. Obviously that's assuming that Durant doesn't suddenly decide to request a trade -- again -- which would spell disaster for the franchise. Right now, though, Brooklyn came out on the other side of the tumultuous Irving era with a quality return, and had it not been the Mavericks package it sounds like they were going to get a solid deal regardless.