The Dallas Mavericks decision to trade for Kyrie Irving has not gone well. The Mavericks were in playoff position at the time of the trade and now, with only two games left, sit outside of play-in tournament position.
With the team’s downfall, Irving and fellow star, Luka Dončić, have taken on a lot of criticism. Is that warranted? There’s a difference of opinion.
Tim Hardaway Sr., the Basketball Hall of Famer and five-time All-Star and his son, Tim Hardaway Jr. — who’s currently on the Mavericks — have differing opinions.
Hardaway Sr. was on The Carton Show and was critical of the trade, on Wednesday noting that the Mavericks took a significant defensive hit with the loss of Spencer Dinwiddie and Dorian Finney-Smith. He also bluntly questioned the leadership of both, saying “Luka is not a leader. Kyrie is not a leader.
Hardaway Jr. disagreed. In a statement released by Tim MacMahon of ESPN, Hardaway Jr. praised the leadership of both players.
“I’ve come out numerous of times and told you how much leadership Luka has shown throughout my whole entire team here in Dallas. He shows it on and off the floor, and a lot of the situations that we’ve been in as a team, we wouldn’t be in without him. So let’s just set that straight.”
He then shifted his attention to Irving.
“And Kyrie ha been nothing but [other] than a leader since he’s been here — making sure that everybody’s good on and off the floor, texting everybody in our group in the player-only just to make sure everybody’s holding together, staying strong. Nothing but leadership there.”
Tim Hardaway Jr. requested to speak to @CallieCaplan and me to make it clear that he wasn’t happy with his dad’s criticism of Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving as leaders. “I disagree with it 1000%” https://t.co/UaWowoArK7 pic.twitter.com/Wy1zol4HSE
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) April 5, 2023
Several in the NBA world supported the younger Hardaway.
Pretty impressive that he’d make a point to seek out a couple reporters and say “hey, my dad is wrong”. That ain’t nothing. https://t.co/4tbJJEWRbe
— Mike Leslie (@MikeLeslieWFAA) April 5, 2023
Love it https://t.co/3BV5y51Czd
— NetsDaily (@NetsDaily) April 5, 2023
Dallas is getting just as toxic as The Knicks during their dark decade. https://t.co/Lz8UXLGu1A
— Jammel Cutler (@JammelCutler) April 5, 2023
Once more: Tim Hardaway Jr. is always good over here. https://t.co/l2WifOt3eu
— The People’s Tweeter (@RKonkle_Mavs) April 5, 2023
Hardaway Sr. is certainly entitled to his opinions and there’s some validity to at least part of what he said. But with his son on the team, any criticism Hardaway Jr. makes of the team’s star players will no doubt trickle down to his son. It’s akin to Andy Van Slyke’s criticisms of Yasiel Puig when his son, Scott Van Slyke, was Puig’s teammate with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
That said, Hardaway Jr.’s response was solid. He did as well as could be expected.