Dallas Mavericks governor Mark Cuban told NBA insider Marc Stein on Tuesday the team has not had trade talks revolving around Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving, despite rumors to the contrary.
Earlier in the day, SNY's Ian Begley reported that the Mavericks reached out to the Nets about Irving, and that big man Kristaps Porzingis was "brought up" in the conversation.
Begley added that it was "unknown if talks between Brooklyn and Dallas advanced past a preliminary stage."
Due to New York City's mandate that athletes playing in indoor arenas must be vaccinated, Irving has not been permitted to participate in home games, with the Nets deciding he would remain away from the team rather than being a part-time player.
No such mandate exists in Texas.
Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported Monday, however, that there is "renewed optimism" that Irving might return to the team at some point this season, though it is unclear if that optimism is based on Irving considering getting vaccinated or the Nets changing their stance and allowing him to practice with the team and play in road games.
Charania added that Kevin Durant and Irving have had "increased communication about his fit on the team, breaking down the games, and about life in general" in recent weeks.
If that doesn't happen and the Nets entertain trade offers, however, a deal involving Porzingis and presumably additional players and a multitude of draft picks could make sense for both sides.
While Irving is clearly the superior player to Porzingis, the latter would give the team a floor-stretching big man capable of protecting the rim (1.6 blocks per game). He'd also give them an actual player on the floor, something Irving hasn't provided.
And giving Luka Doncic another playmaker and scoring threat would take the burden off of him considerably. Irving's ability to play off the ball would work well with Doncic's heavy usage as the primary point of attack in Dallas' offense, as Irving comfortably slid to the 2-guard role next to James Harden, a pairing that worked well.
Granted, it isn't the only Irving deal that would make sense. An Irving for Ben Simmons swap makes some sense, considering both players have yet to play for their respective teams this season. And surely if Irving is actually available via trade, teams will come calling.
Whether Brooklyn will actually pull the trigger—or whether Durant would sign off on dealing the player he chose to join forces with in free agency—remains to be seen.
But the title window for Durant and Harden won't remain open forever. If Irving remains unavailable for the rest of the year, giving up on a year of that title window would be a huge risk, especially with Harden's own free agency looming.