Signing Kyrie Irving can make NBA championship challengers the Dallas Mavericks, says coach Jason Kidd.
The 30-year-old point guard’s departure from the Brooklyn Nets was confirmed on Monday after he failed to agree a new contract.
Irving and Markieff Morris were traded for Spencer Dinwiddie and Dorian Finney-Smith.
“We think the talent and his abilities to make us better is something we needed,” Kidd said.
“Having him will help put us in a position to win a championship.
“You look at his journey at other stops – he won where he went.”
Irving won the NBA title with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016 and is an eight-time NBA All-Star, but he endured problems off the court for three and a half years at the Nets.
His decision not to be vaccinated against Covid-19 meant he couldn’t play any home games until March of the 2021-22 season due to New York’s ban on unvaccinated people in indoor venues.
In November he was suspended for eight games and apologized after posting a link on social media to a film containing anti-Semitic material.
“It’s easy to look at all the negative talk, but let’s look at the positive of what he’s done on and off the pitch. That’s how we approach it,” Kidd said.
“He’s passionate about basketball. He wants to win and he wants to be coached, and it’s a great opportunity for me to have someone like that to help me.”
Kidd said Irving’s pairing with fellow All-Star Luka Doncic, who’s currently sidelined with a heel injury, can be the difference for a team that’s fifth in the Western Conference with a 29-26 record. .
The Mavericks beat the Utah Jazz 124-111 hours after the trade, for which the Nets would receive a future first-round draft pick and two second-round selections.
Irving, who has been linked with the LA Clippers, LA Lakers and Phoenix Suns, is expected to join his Mavericks teammates for practice Tuesday in Los Angeles and make his debut against the Clippers on Wednesday.