Jalen Brunson deemed better fit next to Luka Doncic than toxic ex-Boston Celtics star

Dallas Mavericks v Los Angeles Lakers
Dallas Mavericks v Los Angeles Lakers / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages

NESN's Gio Rivera believes that not only do the Dallas Mavericks regret not paying Jalen Brunson the $54 million contract in 2022 they gave Grant Williams in 2023 via a sign-and-trade with the Boston Celtics, but that Brunson is a far better fit than Doncic's current superstar counterpart, Kyrie Irving.

"Unlike the Brunson-led Knicks, seeded fourth in the East with 27 games left to play, Dallas could easily slip out of playoff contention coming out the All-Star break as the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference," Rivera prefaced before saying, "While guard Kyrie Irving enhances the star power in Dallas, its become more and more clear that Brunson — a hungry, undersized bulldog-like floor general — was a better fit."

Irving and Doncic have already gone through the heartbreak of losing out at the end of the 2022-23 season to the point where the Mavs didn't even qualify for the Play-In Tournament. With Brunson a year prior, Doncic and Dallas were a Western Conference Finals team.

Hard not to agree with Rivera there.

Kyrie Irving left a toxic influence in Boston Celtics locker room

Irving in Boston will be a story that has much more context revealed in the coming years. We can speculate on the relationships he had with the Jays, Marcus Smart, Brad Stevens, and the rest of the organization, but we know for a fact that his influence was toxic.

Locked On Celtics podcast host John Karalis shared Irving's lasting legacy in the Boston locker room.

“I keep going back to Kyrie (Irving) and Tristan Thompson,” Karalis prefaced before saying, “And I swear I feel like they poisoned Tatum’s brain. I feel like those guys, at the beginning, Tatum learned from Kyrie, that the regular season doesn’t matter. You’ve learned from Tristan Thompson that the regular season doesn’t matter. And I just don’t think he puts the same value (on the regular season). I really, I honestly believe that.”

If Irving is having a similar effect in Dallas's locker room, Doncic will never be an NBA champion. Who knows what could've been had Brunson gotten the contract Williams got a year later.