Kyrie IrvingLebron James

The Oddsmakers Like the Mavs Chances With Irving; Do You?

There’s a new NBA championship contender – at least the oddsmakers think so.

The Dallas Mavericks saw their title hopes skyrocket after acquiring guard Kyrie Irving from the Brooklyn Nets, according to published reports. The Mavs were +2500 to win it all before the deal. With Irving, they’re +1400. If you had the Mavs winning it all before the deal, you’re in great shape.

The question is: does Irving really make the Mavs better?

Adding a player of Irving’s talent should make the answer to that question a no-brainer. But along with that talent comes a track record of broken franchises, tortured fan bases and baffled teammates.

The Mavs were 28-26 and in sixth place at the time of the trade, a mere game in front of the defending NBA champion Warriors. Luka Doncic (33.4 points, 8.9 rebounds, 8.2 assists, 1.5 steals) is having an MVP type season but he’s playing 36.5 minutes per game, more than Nikola Jokic or Giannis Antetokounmpo.

From a record and sustainability standpoint that Mavs need more to overcome the likes of Denver, Memphis, or the Clippers in the Western Conference. The East boasts the Celtics, with the best record in the league, along with Milwaukee and Philadelphia.

Irving (27.1 points, 5.1 rebound, 5.3 assists) can immediately free up Doncic from running the offense every night. He can infuse the offense with his own scoring punch. But he can also complete blow up the Mavs attack.

Everything revolves around Doncic, as it should. Irving is accustomed, at times demanding, that everything revolves around him, regardless of whatever narrative he tries to spin. The chemistry on any successful team is precious and Irving already has turned up the Bunsen burners in Cleveland, Boston and now Brooklyn, to the point where the beakers exploded.

Remember when Irving said he was the clutchest player on every team he’s been on? LeBron James certainly heard those words.

“I was a little like, ‘damn,'” James once said on a “Road Trippin” podcast. “Once I got the whole transcript, I was like, ‘damn.’ I wasn’t like, ‘oh, you trippin’, I’ve hit game-winning shots my whole life.’ I was not like that. I was like, ‘damn.’’

According to published reports, the Mavericks ran the trade by Doncic before they pulled the trigger. But will he regret that thumbs up in the playoffs when the play is drawn up for Doncic, but Irving audibles.

It was Irving, not James, who hit the winning shot in Game 7 of the 2016 Finals when the Cavs beat the Warriors. It was a great, albeit questionable shot, a 25-footer with James waiting in the corner.

“I played with Kyrie for three seasons,” said James. “The whole time when I was there, I only wanted to see him be a MVP of our league. I only cared about his success. And it just didn’t align. It just didn’t align.

“And we were able to win a championship. That’s the craziest thing. We were still able to win a championship, and we could never align.”

So it goes with Irving. One never knows when he believes the world is aligned and it must be aligned for him.

The Mavericks gave up an unprotected first-round draft choice in 2029 and second-round picks in 2027 and 2029 in addition to Dorian Finney-Smith and former Net Spencer Dinwiddie for Irving and veteran forward Markieff Morris to find out if it can work in Dallas. Coach Jason Kidd, one of the greatest point guards in NBA history, now has the task of trying to get the stars to align in Dallas.

The oddsmakers seem to think it will happen, despite the wreckage that Irving leaves behind.










Lenn Robbins
Sports Journalist
Hi, I'm Lenn Robbins, a long-time sportswriter who still holds the detention record at Bildersee Junior High School in Brooklyn, N.Y., where I was born and raised. I came out of the womb a Mets fan, was baptized a Knicks fans and through the power of TV, became a Cowboys fan, which explains why I'm in group therapy. The name of my fantasy football league team is Sexual Chocolate. Anyone who can explain the origin of said team name, please h
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