The Dallas Mavericks are 3-7 in their last 10, .500 on the season and pushing their fans closer to a panic button—that they probably don’t need to hit just yet).

After a four-point loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday, they’re now outside the top six and only 1.5 games clear of 11th place. Finishing outside the top 10 would mean a season ending without even appearing in the play-in tournament.

For a team that entered 2022-23 with an over-under of 48.5 wins and a six percent chance to win the championship, according to FiveThirtyEight’s projection system, a 34-34 record through 68 games is undeniably a disappointment.

And that disappointment has been made all the more complicated by the acquisition of Kyrie Irving and his expiring contract.

When he’s on the floor with Luka Doncic, the Mavs cruise to the tune of plus-9.2 points per 100 possessions, but neither played in Saturday’s 112-108 loss. And since Irving entered the lineup, Dallas is minus-3.5 points per 100 possessions when either or both Doncic or Irving aren’t playing.

If all these trends continue and Dallas goes fishin’ before the playoffs even start, the possibility of Irving leaving for nothing in free agency will loom large.

And honestly, even if the Mavericks make a little noise in the postseason, there’s no telling what Irving will do. Free agency can be unpredictable for any NBA player, but Irving has a history of unexpected or otherwise unusual exits from the Cleveland Cavaliers, Boston Celtics and most recently, the Brooklyn Nets, from whom he demanded a trade in February.

If he ultimately walks, Dallas will have given up a solid playmaker in Spencer Dinwiddie and its best perimeter defender in Dorian Finney-Smith (both of whom are under contract next season), a 2029 first-round pick and multiple second-round picks for nothing.

And on that hypothetical timeline, you have to wonder about the patience of Doncic.