On its face, getting an in-his-prime eight-time All-Star and three-time All-NBAer in exchange for a 3-and-D wing, a lower-end starting point guard, and one distant future first-round pick sounds like an absolute no-brainer of a trade. Especially when the team acquiring said star already rosters a generational offensive talent who's carried it to three playoff berths and a conference finals appearance in his first four years in the league, all without the benefit of an All-Star teammate.

But while Kyrie Irving is the most talented player the Dallas Mavericks realistically could have acquired with their underwhelming collection of trade assets, the calculus with Irving is never as simple as how good he is at basketball. The Mavericks will be his fourth NBA team, and he left or forced his way off each of the previous three on acrimonious terms.

During his four-season tenure with the Brooklyn Nets, the most recent of those teams, he missed nearly as many games (146) as he played (156) due to a combination of injuries, personal absences, and suspensions relating to vaccine refusal and the dissemination of antisemitic content. There's usually a honeymoon period with his new team in the very beginning, but dysfunction ultimately tends to follow wherever he goes. Irving is also set to become an unrestricted free agent, and he reportedly demanded out of Brooklyn because the Nets wouldn't give him a fully guaranteed four-year max extension worth approximately $200 million.

That means Dallas' options essentially boil down to giving him that max deal (and signing on for the entire Irving experience that comes with it) or letting him walk for nothing, having sacrificed Dorian Finney-Smith, Spencer Dinwiddie, and an unprotected 2029 first-rounder for a half-season rental. The latter scenario would allow the team to carve out around $25 million in cap space, but doing so would require the Mavs to renounce Christian Wood's Bird rights and waive Reggie Bullock before his guarantee date just to be a player in a mediocre free-agent class.

And yet, for all that, it felt like the Mavs couldn't afford to pass up the opportunity to acquire Irving. You can argue they showed needless desperation, seeing as Luka Doncic is in the first year of a five-year pact. But given how early in their deals disenchanted stars tend to force their teams' hands these days, it's probably best to think of this as more of a two- or three-year runway with Doncic, who'd already started to grow visibly frustrated with the state of his supporting cast.

Dallas desperately needed a supplemental shot creator to ease the burden on Doncic, and the odds of getting one as good as Irving before reaching the end of the aforementioned runway were extremely slim. Even with all the downside risk involved, the upside makes it a worthwhile gamble.

We're talking about a player who's averaging 27 points a game on 60% true shooting and who's statistically been the best high-volume isolation scorer in basketball this year. Irving's 1.28 points per possession on isos rank him first among all players who've logged at least 100 such possessions and make him one of just three players who've been more efficient than Doncic (1.16) on that play type this season, per NBA Advanced Stats.

In other words, even if Irving and Doncic develop no offensive synergy whatsoever and the Mavs' offense simply becomes a my-turn, your-turn affair, the players taking turns will give opposing defenses headaches. Heck, even with a my-turn-all-the-time offense this season, Dallas scored 116.5 points per 100 non-garbage-time possessions, good for seventh in the league.