Dallas Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving plans to meet with the Phoenix Suns after free agency begins Friday at 6 p.m. ET, sources told Bleacher Report’s Chris Haynes.
Irving reportedly may also meet with the Houston Rockets, as well as other NBA teams. However, Dallas is still believed to be favored to re-sign the eight-time All-Star, according to Haynes.
Signing Irving likely wouldn’t be a straightforward transaction for Phoenix, however. The Suns are well above the NBA salary cap, even under the new CBA that officially goes into effect Saturday. Under current projections, they reportedly won’t be able to use the non-taxpayer mid-level exception, expectedly worth $12.4 million, or the taxpaying mid-level exception ($5 million).
A sign-and-trade would mean they can never exceed $172 million in salary next season, which could prove difficult for a franchise already paying a combined $129 million to Bradley Beal ($46.7 million), Kevin Durant ($46.4 million), and Devin Booker ($36 million), according to Spotrac. Center Deandre Ayton, the likeliest outgoing salary in a sign-and-trade agreement for Irving, is earning $32.5 million this coming season.
A far-fetched option for Irving would be to sign a one-year veteran minimum to join Phoenix. However, last year, Irving’s minimum would’ve been approximately $3.5 million, courtesy of CBA FAQ. That represents a seismic drop-off from the maximum five-year, $272-million deal he could land by re-signing in Dallas.
The Mavericks acquired Irving at the February trade deadline last season in a multi-player blockbuster that sent Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith, an unprotected first-round pick in 2029, and a pair of second-rounders in 2027 and 2029 to the Brooklyn Nets. Dallas also sent veteran forward Markieff Morris, a pending free agent, to Brooklyn in the deal.
Irving’s addition was expected to lift the Mavericks into the West’s top tier by pairing Luka Doncic with a proper co-star for the second half of the 2022-23 campaign. However, Dallas went 10-18 after adding Irving, as both stars missed time with respective injuries, ultimately failing to even reach the play-in tournament.
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