Irving tries to finish tumultuous season on a high with Mavs
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Kyrie Irving -- he says now -- wanted to finish out this season in Brooklyn. He has five games left instead to potentially finish this season out of the playoffs with Dallas.
And the enigmatic guard suddenly has more questions -- none having to do with Earth’s shape -- about his basketball future as he prepares to become a free agent in the summer.
As for the current state of the team?
“It kind of looks like a little bit of a cluster (expletive)," Irving said.
The Mavericks’ 116-108 loss in Philadelphia on Wednesday night dropped them to 8-14 since Irving was acquired in February and has a franchise that reached the Western Conference finals last season on the brink of missing the playoffs this season.
Dallas is 37-40 and in 11th place in the West. The NBA play-in tournament includes teams with the seventh through 10th-highest winning percentages in each conference.
“It’s been a scramble since I’ve been here,” Irving said.
Irving was expected to team with Luka Doncic and put the focus on his game again after a disastrous stint with the Nets that included fallout from his tweet of a link to a film containing antisemitic material.
Irving, who scored 23 points against the 76ers and continued his recent beef with courtside fans, said growing pains have come in Dallas from “learning each other on the fly.”
“Who do guys go to on the team to confide in off the court? Who is our coaching staff as people? he said. “What do they expect from me? The big question, why they traded for me? And you know, what does it look like for the future? That’s the big question."
The eight-time All-Star hasn’t been interested in talking much about what his long-term future could be with the Mavericks and has been focused more on trying to jostle them ahead of Oklahoma City for the final play-in spot. The Mavericks, losers of five of six games, have a back-to-back weekend set at Miami and Atlanta. They finish with three games at home.
“The realistic view is that when I came here was that this was going to be a growing process. This was for the long term,” Irving said. “This was for something that is bigger than ourselves. We can’t just be a championship team overnight, especially me coming here. I think I’ve wrapped my head around that aspect of it. I'm at peace with it. It doesn’t mean that I’m giving up on the season or any of my teammates are.”
While Irving said his overall tenure in Dallas has been good -- “outside of the losses, of course,” he said -- he acknowledged little has gone right for him this season.
“I didn’t expect to ask for a trade,” he said. “I wanted to finish out with Brooklyn, finish out with the season that we had going and I didn’t get a chance to do that. Some of the goals I had previously this season had to be shifted. I had to be more than willing, which I am, to be flexible and adaptable and live with the results, whether we make the playoffs or not.”
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