Kyrie Irving is already in Dallas, and will hold his first practice in the Mavericks uniform today (Tuesday), ahead of the game against the Clippers on the night between Wednesday and Thursday, where he is expected to make his first appearance with the team.
The trade that sent Irving and Markieff Morris to Dallas and Spencer Dinwiddie and Dorian Finney Smith to Brooklyn became official overnight, and hours later we also got the first reference from Dallas coach Jason Kidd to the controversial move.
Not surprisingly, Kidd heaped praise on Irving and explained that he focuses on his strengths, rather than the well-known weaknesses that have made him one of the most controversial figures in American sports.
"When you look at his career, you realize that he won everywhere he played. We feel that his failure and our qualities will improve us and give us what we need. We feel that he will put us in a position to win the championship," said the coach.
Irving will wear jersey number 2, the one he also wore in the Cleveland uniform.
He will also hope to restore the achievements from the days of the Cubs, with which he won the championship alongside LeBron James.
"It's easy to look at all the negative things about Kyrie, but we focus on his positive things, on and off the court. That's our approach," says Kidd.
"I know Kyrie is focused solely on basketball. He wants to win, he wants his coach to challenge him, and this is a great opportunity for me to use him as an aid to our team."
On the field, it can work like a charm.
Doncic and Irving (Photo: GettyImages, Jim McIsaac)
Irving's presence may significantly reduce the use of the defensive tactics that have become very common recently against Luka Doncic.
Time after time, teams sent the Slovenian star into double guard, with a conscious decision to allow the other players and the lesser ones who surrounded him, to try to decide games themselves.
As long as Irving is by his side, that strategy may lose relevance.
"Our opponents will have to pick their poison," said Mavericks player Theo Pinson, who worked with Irving in Brooklyn in the past, and knows him and Doncic intimately.
"It's the kind of thing that no team will have an answer to. So teams will try to double team Luka, who cares? He'll just pass to the team's other killer. It'll be fun to watch."
Jason Kidd is also convinced that next to Kyrie, Doncic will look much better - even if he has to give up some of his dominance with the ball.
"When you look at Luca's usage rate (the number of poses in which a certain player is required to make offensive decisions), it stands at something like 99.9%. So of course it has to come down," Kidd said jokingly.
"In the end it's healthy for Luca and the team. It's not bad. I believe Luca will be much better in the final quarters now, and the team will be better too. It will take time for them to build trust in each other, but Luca will learn very quickly that Kyrie is built to win."