Kyrie Irving has agreed to a three-year, $126 million deal to return to the Dallas Mavericks, his agent Shetellia Riley-Irving told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne on Friday.
Irving, 31, an eight-time All-Star, is widely regarded as one of the most experienced guards to have played the game. He has career averages of 23.4 points and 5.7 assists, including 27.1 points and 5.5 assists per game last season for the Brooklyn Nets and Mavericks.
However, Irving’s career has also seen bitter exits from several franchises.
A year after starring in the 2016 championship, he applied for a trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers. He left the Boston Celtics after two seasons, with the second season marred by widespread belief that he intended to join Kevin Durant in a free agency package – which proved correct when they both signed with Brooklyn. His time with the Nets was marked by several controversies and just one playoff series win before Brooklyn granted his trade request in February after extension negotiations failed.
The Mavericks traded starters Dorian Finney-Smith and Spencer Dinwiddie, an unprotected first-round pick from 2029 and two second-round picks to take on Irving. That left Luka Doncic as the co-star Dallas management felt the Mavs needed to face. But Dallas struggled with its star duo, reaching just 5-11 when Doncic and Irving played together and failing to qualify for the postseason.
Still, Mavs Gov. Mark Cuban and general manager Nico Harrison said signing Irving was a top priority for the franchise off-season.
“I think Luka and Kai are working together,” Harrison said during his exit interview with media in April.
“I think when we have a player as talented – as talented as two players – I think they work together. I really think it’s up to the players around them… kinda knowing what part they’re playing in having these two guys out on improving ground at the same time. I think we have to work on that.”