NBA All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving, who came under fire earlier in the season after promoting an antisemitic film, is set to be traded to a team owned by a Jewish man.
Multiple news outlets reported on Sunday that the Brooklyn Nets and Dallas Mavericks have agreed to a trade that will Irving and forward Markieff Morris to Dallas in exchange for guard Spencer Dinwiddie, forward Dorian Finney-Smith, an unprotected 2029 first-round pick, a 2027 second-round pick, and a 2029 second-round pick in the swap.
The Mavericks are owned by entrepreneur and television personality Mark Cuban, who grew up in Mount Lebanon, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Pittsburgh, in a Jewish working-class family.
The reported trade comes two days after Irving requested a trade out of Brooklyn following failed negotiations on a contract extension.
The Nets suspended Irving at the start of November for a minimum of five games after he shared a link to an antisemitic film, “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America,” and then refusing to “unequivocally say he has no antisemitic views.”
Irving subsequently apologized in an Instagram post and also met with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, himself a Jew, who later said that after meeting with Irving, he has “no doubt that he’s not antisemitic.”
The Nets subsequently lifted Irving’s suspension and he issued an apology to the Jewish community before returning to play.
Despite his apology, sportswear giant Nike announced at the start of December that it was severing ties with Irving.
Irving, who was named the Rookie of the Year after being selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers with the first overall pick in the 2011 NBA draft, is talented but is known for some controversies over the years.
In February 2017, Irving stated in an interview that he believes that the Earth is flat. He later was less forceful in advancing this belief, encouraging people to “do their own research” into the topic.
In September 2017, Irving denied these claims and said that media misunderstood him as he was joking. However, in a June 2018 interview, when asked if he would admit that the world is round, he said “I don’t know. I really don’t”, and added that people should “do [their] own research for what [they] want to believe in” because “Our educational system is flawed”. Several months later, he apologized for his original comments.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Irving refused to receive a vaccine against the virus, causing him to be unable to suit up for the Nets for the majority of the 2021-22 NBA season.