The NBA has been stirring the pot within the sports world just a week before Super Bowl LVII. In just one week, the NBA has engrossed franchises and fans with trade deadline surprises, injury reports, and the historic coverage of the all-time scoring record moment.
On Friday Feb. 3, former Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving failed to negotiate a long-term contract extension with the Nets, instead announcing his request for a trade. According to ESPN, Irving requested that his trade would be dealt with ahead of the Feb. 9 trade deadline. The Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks and the Los Angeles Lakers expressed interest in the Irving trade. On Monday, Feb. 6, the Dallas Mavericks made the Irving trade official.
The Mavericks’ public relations team released a statement on Twitter welcoming Kyrie Irving and former Nets power forward Markieff Morris. In return, the Brooklyn Nets received point guard Spencer Dinwiddie and power forward Dorian Finney-Smith. But, that’s not all. To receive a superstar player like Kyrie Irving, the offer must offset the player. With this in mind, the Nets received the Mavericks’ 2027 NBA first round draft pick and their 2029 first and second round draft picks.
This trade was huge for Dallas, solidifying them as top contenders in the playoffs. In Irving’s first game in Dallas against the Clippers, Irving executed a 24 point performance, leading the Mavericks to a victory of 110-104. Mavericks star Luka Dončić shared some insights with ESPN about his team’s new asset. “NBA Champion. Probably the best ball handler ever in the game. Amazing player, and he’s going to be fun to play with,” said Dončić. Irving’s trade caused a domino effect across the NBA specifically within the Western conference.
The trades in the Western conference surprised fans, immensely shifting around NBA playoff predictions. The most surprising trade of all was the blockbuster trade of Kevin Durant. The Phoenix Suns received forwards Kevin Durant and T.J. Warren. In some ways, fans and analysts think that this trade was made in response to Kyrie Irving’s trade or Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant’s comments in reference to his own team. Regardless, this trade put Phoenix as number one playoff favorites anticipating championship success this year. Kevin Durant, Chris Paul, Devin Booker, and Deandre Ayton all on one team calculate high success alone.
Although the Phoenix Suns received a superstar within this huge trade arrangement, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Golden State Warriors made major moves as well throughout the week. The Lakers traded guard Russell Westrbook, as well as Juan Toscano-Anderson and Damian Jones to the Utah Jazz. They acquired guard Malik Beasley, power forward Jarred Vanderbilt, and brought back guard D’Angelo Russell from the Minnesota Timberwolves. This trade included a three-team deal consisting of eight players and future draft picks. The Lakers also gave their 2024 second-round draft pick to Minnesota as well as their 2027 first-round draft pick to Utah. That wasn’t all. The Lakers’ blockbuster trade this week also occurred with Orlando acquiring Orlando’s Center Mo Bamba in exchange for Patrick Beverly. Some may argue that this trade still doesn’t make the Lakers top contenders, but it gives them a chance at revitalization.
The Golden State Warriors made some impressive trade decisions this time around bringing back their 2022 championship x-factor in shooting guard Gary Payton II and two future second-round picks from the Hawks. In exchange, they dished out five future second-round draft picks to Portland. The Warriors also traded James Wiseman to the Detroit Pistons. This allowed the Warriors to save $7 million in luxury taxes and $30 million on trades between 2023-2024. This is huge for the Warriors and has brought about great news this week after hearing about the injury to their star guard Stephen Curry. Curry suffered a leg injury on Feb. 4 against the Dallas Mavericks exiting the game in the third quarter. Curry’s injury will cause him to miss All-Star weekend and will be re-evaluated after the break.
On Tuesday, Feb. 7 at Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles, California, four-time NBA Champion and MVP Lebron James passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s NBA all-time scoring record, acquiring the number one spot. James executed a fadeaway jumper with just 10.9 seconds left in the third quarter. Lebron went into the game with 38,352 points. James needed 36 points to take over the number one spot on the all-time scoring list passing Jabbar with 38,390 points. James did just that by ending the night as the Lakers leading scorer with 38 points, seven rebounds, three assists, and three steals.
Although the Lakers failed to execute a win against the Oklahoma City Thunder, they were able to witness a historic moment indeed. Celebrities Jay-Z, Usher, LL Cool J, Andy Garcia, Denzel Washington, Bad Bunny, and more were in attendance as well seeking to witness the moment. “Tonight I actually felt like I was sitting on top of the arena when that shot went in. I’m not sure if I would ever be able to feel that feeling again, unless it’s a game-winning Finals shot,” said Lebron James (according to ESPN). James’ newly acquired accolade raised the controversial debate of: Michael Jordan vs. Lebron James for the title of greatest player of all time.
Copy edited by Chanice McClover-Lee