DALLAS (AP) — Luka Doncic has his costar and the Dallas Mavericks are preparing for their season to essentially kick off again after trading for Kyrie Irving.
The spectacular deal with Brooklyn, which sent the mercurial Irving to the Mavericks, became official Monday, two days before what is expected to be his Dallas debut against the Los Angeles Clippers.
Dallas also got Markieff Morris in a trade that sent Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith, a 2029 first-round pick and two second-round picks to the Nets.
It is unknown if Doncic will be available to face the Clippers. He wasn’t with the Mavs at the start of a five-game road trip to the West after hurting his right heel in the final home game before the trip began. He was ruled out of the second game of the tour in Utah on Monday night.
Whenever the All-Stars can meet on the court, Doncic and Irving will instantly become one of the top duos in a very tight Western Conference.
Doncic is tied for the league scoring lead with fellow league MVP candidate Joel Embiid of Philadelphia, and is the only one of the seven averaging 30 points who also has at least eight rebounds and eight assists per game. . Irving is averaging 27.1 points, 5.3 assists and 5.1 rebounds.
The West has several title contenders in addition to defending champion Golden State, which eliminated the Mavericks in the conference finals last season.
Dallas is in a group of nine teams that started the day a game apart. It covers teams currently in fourth place, the last spot with home-field advantage in the first round, through 12th, two spots out of the postseason play-in tournament.
The 13th-ranked Los Angeles Lakers, with LeBron James and Anthony Davis, are just two losses behind those pooled playoff hopefuls.
Jalen Brunson was key in Dallas’ playoff run alongside Doncic last season, but decided he wanted his own starring role so the point guard left for the New York Knicks in free agency.
While the Mavericks snapped up a solid second scorer in a trade for Christian Wood this offseason, they haven’t been able to win without Doncic this season.