For once, the latest chapter in the Kyrie Irving saga was a quick one.

Reports have come out that the Brooklyn Nets will send Irving and Markieff Morris to the Dallas Mavericks for Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith, a 2029 unprotected first-round pick, and two second-round picks (2027 and 2029).

Simply put, the move itself provides a major sign of relief for the Nets. Through four years, Brooklyn had to navigate through things such as Irving’s refusal to take the COVID-19 vaccine, which at one point limited him to playing more or less half the regular season. It wasn’t just the on-court product that was affected, as the member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe dabbled in conspiracy theories and even sent out a tweet that appeared to support anti-semitism.

There may have been better packages available basketball-wise, but the Mavs appeared to be the best place for the Nets to begin their rebuild. Brooklyn got back Dinwiddie, a former Net who  made his name in Brooklyn and can be a playmaker when Kevin Durant is off the court. Finney-Smith is a decent complement to whatever the Nets are building and all things considered, Brooklyn has the pieces for either a roster built around Durant or additional trade capital to do so. Oh and Nets owner Joe Tsai did not want to give Irving the satisfaction of sending him to his preferred destination, the Los Angeles Lakers. 

For Dallas, it’s clearly a win-now move that easily gives them the most talented (and most clutch) backcourt in the NBA. Luka Doncic now has by and large his most talented backcourt mate in his career and they can play off one another and lift each other up when the going gets tough. Having a plethora of wings seemingly made Dinwiddie and Finney-Smith expendable, as playing time now opens up for the likes of Josh Green and Reggie Bullock, among others. Irving’s checkered past is well-documented, and the Mavericks were obviously willing to take on the baggage that comes along with the eight-time NBA All-Star given the potential reward.

Concerns about how the Doncic-Irving pairing will work come largely from a defensive standpoint, where both can be decent when committed. However, much of their efforts will be put towards the offensive side of the ball, so the rest of the Mavs will have to compensate at a schematic and team level. Irving’s durability will also be put to the test and the hope is that he can stay healthy enough to allow him and Doncic to have a long postseason ahead.

Whether or not Irving stays is anyone’s guess (well anything Kyrie Irving does is anyone’s guess), but Dallas will provide the three-time All-NBA selection a ton of opportunities to strut his stuff in arguably a smaller media market. For the next 38 or so games, the Mavericks will get a look at how well the pairing will work, while for Irving, this “second chance” will allow him to audition for the 20 or so teams that would still take a chance on him despite breaking promises with Brooklyn, the Boston Celtics, and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Irving remains fortunate that he was able to get out of a situation that could have potentially seen him sitting on the sidelines for a longer time. While thriving is his best bet, he has to earn the buy-in of his teammates. Taking care of things on the court isn’t the only thing now, as he has to prevent any offcourt snafus from getting into the team’s psyche. The Mavs teammates he will meet in the locker room would likely have preconceptions about him and if he can earn their trust, it should be smooth sailing from here until at least the end of this season.

Kyrie Irving wanted out of the Brooklyn Nets and while he got his wish, Irving should be careful in not letting this new opportunity with the Dallas Mavericks slip away. While he might not like it, he has a lot to prove to everyone, from his new teammates to the naysayers. It might require some self-assessment and he doesn’t have to look far to get some inspiration.