Turns out the culprit wasn’t the North Texas heat. Or those extra onions in the potato salad. Or the habanero barbecue sauce.
Our acid reflux flare-ups this holiday weekend weren’t induced by intolerable climate or cuisine, but, rather, persistent reporting of “Kyrie Irving” and “Mavericks” in the same sentence.
This diagnosis was confirmed by Sunday’s fallout from the Mavericks’ latest offseason setback, when their long-rumored and widely presumed free agent target, Goran Dragic, agreed to a one-year contract with Chicago.
Dallas’ failure — or was it decision? — to convert what amounted to an uncontested layup by signing Luka Doncic’s 36-year-old mentor and fellow Slovenian further fueled speculation that governor Mark Cuban and general manager Nico Harrison have grander ideas for the team’s lone remaining roster spot.
For instance, Irving, Brooklyn’s unquestionably skilled but mercurial 30-year-old guard.
Say it ain’t so, Nico.
On draft night, June 23, a Mavericks source dismissed any notion that Dallas would pursue Irving after The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported that the Mavericks were among seven teams to which Irving would welcome a trade.
Irving ultimately opted in to the $36.5 million final year of his contract, but teammate Kevin Durant’s trade request mere hours before last Thursday’s start of free agency has made it all but certain that both he and Irving will be dealt.
On Saturday, Charania characterized the Lakers, Philadelphia and Dallas as suitors of Irving. Unfortunately he meant Irving the player, not the fine city that is adjacent to Dallas.
Irving the player certainly is tantalizing, with his jaw-dropping handles and three-season Nets averages of 27.1 points, 6.0 assists, 4.7 rebounds and 49% shooting.
The problem is that Irving the person totes more baggage as a locker room presence than Kim Kardashian on a monthlong cruise. His fingerprints are all over Brooklyn’s monumental implosion. His wake of destruction further dates to two contentious seasons in Boston.
He’s hardly the embodiment of chemistry and accountability, the words coach Jason Kidd stressed on the first day of training camp last September.
Those words were the foundation upon which Harrison, Kidd and coaching staff built the culture of a Mavericks team that blazed to the NBA’s third-best record after New Year’s and made a surprising run to the Western Conference finals.
Yet this weekend, especially after Sunday’s Dragic news, a noticeable portion of Mavericks fans on social media had resigned themselves into believing that one season of Irving isn’t much of a risk, that the potential upside far outweighs any negatives.
Look, I get it. Losing Jalen Brunson with no compensation badly stung the Mavericks and MFFLs.
Year after year of getting jilted at the altar by free agents is difficult enough. Having one of your own file for divorce and run off to the team with which, it appears in hindsight, he was engaged in more than flirting is especially painful.
It’s also evident that despite the additions of big men Christian Wood and JaVale McGee, Dallas’ offseason thus far has its roster trending behind those of Golden State, the Clippers, Denver, Minnesota and perhaps New Orleans. And what if Durant winds up in Phoenix or San Francisco?
Durant is the magnificent mansion for which you overpay with no questions asked, not even asking for an inspection. Irving is the eye-catching estate with all the bells and whistles but also a cracked foundation and mold behind the walls.
Irving is the acquisition of a desperate team, or a desperate and foolish one like the Lakers. The Mavericks with 23-year-old Doncic, coming off the Western Conference finals and, needing roster improvement, should not be in desperate mode.
As questionable of a fit as Irving would seem to be for the locker room and culture, it’s equally eyebrow-raising to wonder how ball-dominant Irving and Doncic would mesh in the same backcourt.
This isn’t about Sunday’s Dragic news. It’s understandable why fans and likely Doncic are disappointed, but in reality 36-year-old Dragic wasn’t going to fill the Brunson void or make Dallas a Western Conference favorite.
The Mavericks would be better served making a push for Cleveland restricted free agent Collin Sexton. Or taking a calculated gamble on T.J. Warren. Or even trading for 33-year-old Bojan Bogdanovic.
But Kyrie Irving? Excuse me while I enjoy what is left of the holiday, ideally with a slice of apple pie. A la mode, of course.