The Dallas Mavericks have a lot of work to do this summer to return to being a perennial playoff team in the Western Conference after failing to make the postseason during the 2022-23 campaign.
Dallas suffered one of the most significant drop-offs of any title-contending team in the league, with Luka Doncic and company going from a team that made it to the Western Conference Finals to a team that missed the NBA playoffs entirely with two legitimate superstars leading the way.
After acquiring superstar guard Kyrie Irving before the NBA trade deadline, the consensus was that Dallas would become a juggernaut in the West, with two of the league’s best offensive weapons in the backcourt.
Unfortunately, the team failed to live up to expectations, and now Irving is set to hit NBA free agency, with some doubting whether he’ll return.
On Monday, the Mavericks introduced their incoming rookies, with Derek Lively II choosing to wear No. 2, which had some worried about Irving, but it appears the veteran guard has requested to wear No. 11, according to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon.
Derek Lively II will wear No. 2 for the Mavs. Kyrie Irving, should he return to Dallas, has requested No. 11. pic.twitter.com/2H4UTDKyhT
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) June 26, 2023
Even though Irving has supposedly requested to wear a different jersey number, it still remains to be seen if he’s genuinely committed to the Mavericks moving forward and if his signing with the team long-term this summer is a foregone conclusion.
At this point, it is all speculation, with no one knowing Irving’s true intentions, as some believe he may leave in favor of signing with the Los Angeles Lakers to reunite with LeBron James.
Although that rumor has been downplayed recently, there are still no assurances regarding someone as unpredictable as Irving.NEXT: Mavericks GM Makes His Feelings Clear About NBA Draft