What was supposed to be a ramp-up toward a deep playoff run with Kyrie Irving has turned into an outright 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 elimination from play-in tournament contention when they faced the Chicago Bulls on Friday.
One would think Dallas would’ve given everything it had in that contest in order to avoid the embarrassment of missing the play-in tourney, but instead, it rested several of its key players and ended up losing, 115-112, which will cause it to finish outside of the top 10.
The NBA is now reportedly investigating the team’s decision to sit out so many of its best players, which included Irving.
NBA spokesman Mike Bass: “The NBA commenced an investigation today into the facts and circumstances surrounding the Dallas Mavericks’ roster decisions and game conduct with respect to last night’s Chicago Bulls-Mavericks game, including the motivations behind those actions.”
— Tim MacMahon (@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 that eliminated Dallas from play-in contention. https://t.co/OW0Jrrzyci
— ESPN (@espn) April 8, 2023
Fans feel the Mavs should be disciplined for such a decision.
Mavs need to forfeit a draft pick for this.
— Karce (@Karsonnnn) April 8, 2023
Have them trade Luka to the Knicks as a punishment to teach them a lesson
— Johnathan (@theprism89) April 8, 2023
On the other hand, tanking and load management have become big problems across the league over the last few years, and some fans feel the Mavs shouldn’t be the only team investigated.
Yeah they did it on purpose but the entire league has been doing at some point
— Joe Hamilton Sports Pixel Artist (@Hamilton4Joe) April 8, 2023
Not gonna investigate Utah? Portland? Indiana? San Antonio? Detroit? The Mavs decide to lose one game and they get this treatment when other teams been tanking for weeks to months and they don’t bat an eye. It’s ridiculous
— Dallas Mavs 2024 NBA champs (@_LeTrash) April 8, 2023
On paper, it would seem Dallas had the team it needed to win at least 50 games, especially if its current roster were given a full season together.
However, it could look considerably different next season.
Irving will be a free agent, and while he’s a great player, he is widely considered a toxic influence, and he will be demanding lots of money.
Furthermore, the Mavs are a very weak defensive team, and if they’re to regain the form that took them to the Western Conference Finals last year, they will need to start on that end of the court.NEXT: Jason Kidd Gives His Honest Thoughts About Kyrie Irving's Free Agency