Why the Kristaps Porzingis Trade is a Win for Both Teams

February 10, 2019



 In case you haven’t heard, Kristaps Porzingis was traded to the Dallas Mavericks a week ago.  Let’s analyze by first taking a look at the trade details:

Dallas Receives

Kristaps Porzingis

Tim Hardaway Jr.

Courtney Lee

Trey Burke

Knicks Receive

Dennis Smith Jr.

DeAndre Jordan

Wesley Matthews

Two 1st Round Picks

This trade was initiated by a meeting that Kristaps Porzingis called with Knicks management to discuss his concern with the state of the team.  His brother who manages his career was also at this meeting and some reports say he made remarks that rubbed the Knicks brass the wrong way.  Just 45 minutes after this meeting occurred, the trade between Dallas and New York was reported.  The speed of this trade was shocking to many people, but Knicks’ relationship with their star forward had been tumultuous for a long time.  For instance, David Fizdale’s first responsibility after being hired as head coach for the team was convincing the disgruntled Porzingis to return to the United States to be with the team.

Porzingis took the league by storm as a rookie, and he has improved to average 20.0 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks on 37.3% from three since then.  The downside of Kristaps is his injury history.  He missed 10 games a rookie year, 16 games his second year, 34 games last season, and he has missed more than 50 games so far this year.  He is a “unicorn”, but he is useless to the Knicks if he cannot stay on the court or if he does not want to play in New York.  I think the Knicks had to make a move, and I think the return from the Mavs was impressive.

People have soured on Dennis Smith quickly.  Just a year ago he was having a productive rookie year for the Mavericks while the Knicks were kicking themselves for not picking him in the draft.  He is also a high flying dunker who could thrive under the big city spotlight.  DeAndre Jordan and Wesley Matthews will likely be bought out, which will allow the Knicks to tank and acquire a high draft pick.  Most importantly, this trade moves Tim Hardaway Jr.’s enormous contract to Dallas and it increases New York’s cap space for the coming offseason to more than $70 million.  This increased cap space creates room for the Knicks to sign two star players.  The team has been strongly linked to Kevin Durant as well has Kyrie Irving, Kemba Walker, and others.  Many people believe that the Knicks would not have made this trade if unless they had extreme confidence that two stars were coming.  It will be interesting to see how the upcoming free agency works out for New York.

The Mavericks had their own chemistry issues with Dennis Smith Jr.  He was supposed to be the player that Dallas would build around for the future, but after they traded for rookie Luka Doncic on the night of the draft, he has rightfully stolen the spotlight.  Doncic has had amazing first year in the NBA, and since he is a guard he has the ball in his hand for much of the game.  This means less time for Smith to handle the ball and attack the basket the way he’s accustomed to playing.  Now, Dallas has two young players in Doncic and Porzingis who are extremely talented with great length for their positions.  As the legendary Dirk Nowitzki enters into retirement, he can mentor their new acquisition who has been compared to him more than anyone ever has.  Mark Cuban will hope to follow the Spurs model going forward, building a team with talented foreign players who are continually underestimated.  It’s safe to say that the Mavericks like the way their future looks right now!

There is always a debate about who won each trade, but this time I believe both teams are walking away from the trade deadline in better positions than they were before.

- Jeff Pulver

All Things Good Sports

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