Earlier today, Kristaps Porzingis met with the New York Knicks’ management to discuss the team’s losing and left the meeting with the preference to be traded, according to Ramona Shelburne. Just an hour later, his wish was granted.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski, the Knicks have agreed to trade Kristaps Porzingis, Tim Hardaway Jr., and Courtney Lee to the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for Dennis Smith Jr, DeAndre Jordan, Wesley Matthews, and a future first round pick.
Porzingis has not played a game since February 6th of last season but was expected to be reevaluated in the upcoming weeks. Prior to his ACL injury, the Latvian native was averaging 22.7 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks with a career-high 39.5% shooting from deep. For the first time in his young career, “The Unicorn” will be paired with a fellow young star in Rookie of the Year favorite, Luka Doncic. At just 19, Doncic is averaging 20.4 points on 43.3/35.2/73.2 shooting, 6.9 rebounds, and 5.4 assists while handling both the primary scoring and playmaking duties. With the addition of a healthy Porzingis, Doncic will see more open looks and a teammate capable of shouldering the remainder of the scoring duties on the floor.
The inclusion of Tim Hardaway Jr and Courtney Lee makes this deal even better for Dallas. Hardaway is one of the best volume scorers in the NBA, although he is very streaky, and Lee is a veteran 3-and-D role player to take over the role of Wes Matthews.
This deal is also sacrificing the Mavs’ postseason chances for this season. At 23-27, Dallas is 4.5 games behind the Los Angeles Clippers for the 8th seed. This way, the Mavs can somewhat tank for a better draft pick to pair with the young nucleus of Luka Doncic and Porzingis and focus on the 2019-2020 season.
The return for the Knicks is a solid one with a solid cornerstone in Dennis Smith Jr, whose need for the ball in his hands interfered the development of Luka Doncic, who also operates best when he has the ability to create for others. DeAndre Jordan and Wes Matthews are two candidates to be bought out and signed by contenders looking to make a final postseason push (76ers and Elton Brand, work some magic).
All in all, this deal worked out for both teams. Dallas got a running mate for their Slovenian stud plus two solid role players. The Knicks received a young point guard that is much better than the disappointing Frank Ntilikina that can be paired with the emerging rookie trio of Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson, and Allonzo Trier, while cutting their payroll down to $74.6 million, which is enough for two max slots. Don’t forget that with the worst record in the NBA right now, they are the favorites to land Duke freshman phenom Zion Williamson in next June’s NBA Draft.
Picture Courtesy of SB Nation
University of South Carolina ’21