What should have been a ramp-up toward a deep playoff run with Kyrie Irving turned into an utter disaster for the Dallas Mavericks.
They went from having one of the six best records in the Western Conference to being on the verge of being knocked out of play-in tournament contention when they faced the Chicago Bulls on Friday.
One would think that Dallas would have given it their all in that contest to avoid the embarrassment of missing out on the play-in tournament, but instead, it rested several of its key players and lost, 115–112. Which would cause it to finish outside the top 10.
The NBA is now reportedly investigating the team’s decision to release several of its best players, including Irving.
NBA spokesman Mike Bass: “The NBA has commenced an investigation into the facts and circumstances surrounding the roster decisions and sporting conduct of the Dallas Mavericks in connection with last night’s Chicago Bulls-Mavericks game, including the intent behind those actions. “
— Tim McMahon (@espn_macmahon) April 8, 2023
The NBA will investigate the Mavericks’ decision to sit out several key players in Friday night’s loss to the Bulls, which eliminated Dallas from play-in contention. https://t.co/OW0Jrrzyci
— ESPN (@espn) April 8, 2023
The fans feel that the Mavs should be disciplined for such a decision.
The Mavs would have to forfeit a draft pick for this.
— Karse (@karsenan) April 8, 2023
Let them trade Luka to the Knicks as punishment to teach them a lesson
— Johnathan (@theprism89) April 8, 2023
On the other hand, tanking and load management have become major problems in the league over the years, and some fans feel the Mavs shouldn’t be the only team scrutinized.
Yes, he did it on purpose but the whole league does it at one point or another.
— Joe Hamilton Sports Pixel Artist (@hamilton4joe) April 8, 2023
Won’t check out Utah? Portland? Indiana? San Antonio? Detroit? The Mavs decide to lose a game and they get this treatment when other teams tank for weeks to months and they don’t turn a blind eye. it’s funny
— Dallas Mavs 2024 NBA Champs (@_LeTrash) April 8, 2023
On paper, it looks like Dallas has the team it needs to win at least 50 games, especially if its current roster is put together a full season.
However, it could look quite different next season.
Irving will be a free agent, and while he is a great player, he is widely considered a toxic influence, and will demand a lot of money.
Furthermore, the Mavs are a very weak defensive team, and they will need to start on that end of the court if they are to recapture the form that carried them to the Western Conference Finals last year.
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