This article was added by the user . TheWorldNews is not responsible for the content of the platform.

Dallas Mavericks return was ‘No. 1 on my list’, says Kyrie Irving

Kyrie Irving was traded from the Brooklyn Nets to the Mavericks last season on an expiring contract. PHOTO: AFP

LOS ANGELES – Calling himself and Luka Doncic “killers on the court”, Kyrie Irving expressed gratitude over returning to the Dallas Mavericks following a practice session on Thursday.

The guard was traded from the Brooklyn Nets to the Mavericks last season on an expiring contract. He chose to re-sign with Dallas on a three-year contract worth up to US$126 million (S$172 million) after briefly exploring free agency.

“It wasn’t too difficult of a process,” Irving said.

“Had Dallas as No. 1 on my list. Obviously I looked elsewhere – salary cap opportunities, where I could fit in with other guys around the league – but there just wasn’t much space.

“And me being 31 now, I had to have a different vantage point, and I felt like I could not just settle here but be happy to come back here and be welcomed back with a warm embrace.”

He played 20 games for Dallas last season and averaged 27.0 points, 6.0 assists and 5.0 rebounds per game.

But the Mavericks went just 5-11 when Irving and Doncic both played – the duo failed to immediately gel – and their pursuit of a play-off berth collapsed.

Irving was in the headlines two seasons ago for the wrong reasons as he strongly protested against the National Basketball Association’s Covid-19 vaccination regulations at the time.

Those issues, alongside him promoting an antisemitic film, contributed to suspensions by the Nets. His family are now supportive of his change of environment and him staying in Texas in the long term.

“I mean, even when I got traded here mid-season, a lot of my family was excited and they were just looking forward to me having a peace of mind just on the court and off the court,” he added.

“I had already dealt with enough last season or the past two seasons, so they knew that I just wanted a lot of that off my back and off my shoulders of feeling like I had to be Superman or I had to be perfect. I just wanted to be myself.

“So I think this is the best place to do it and continue to mature and grow as a man.”

Doncic, who spoke with the media on Wednesday, is relishing having a full training camp with his superstar teammate.

“He came in the middle of the season last year, and we didn’t have much time,” he said.

“We went straight to playing games. It takes time to do chemistry, especially on the court, and we didn’t have the whole training camp and pre-season. So I think it’s going to be way better (this time).”

For his part, Irving believed he and Doncic were “being too passive” with each other.

“We’re both killers on the court, everybody knows it. We want to win,” he said.

“So we just have to continue to have that consistent mentality together and lead the team as best as we can.” REUTERS, AFP