According to reports, the New York Knicks have agreed to trade star forward Kristaps Porzingis, to the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for Dennis Smith Jr. DeAndre Jordan and Wesley Matthews.
Dallas will also receive Tim Hardaway Jr. as well as Courtney Lee.
Earlier Thursday, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Porzingis met with the New York’s management to express his concern with the franchises culture, feeling that it wouldn’t enable success if they continued to lose. The Knicks felt that after the meeting, Kristaps was asking to be traded.
The one-time all-star has not played a single game this season as he has been recovering from a torn ACL suffered last season. New York announced that he would be evaluated in mid-February, however, there was no timetable for his return. Before his injury, the former No. 4 pick was averaging 22.7 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game.
New York now looks at possibly $74.6 million dollars in freed up cap space following the trade and going into next season. Leaving the Knicks to sign possibly two big named free agents to max contracts.
This trade works for both teams, however, a lot of things have to go right.
For Dallas, this trade shakes things up for what could be the better of their franchise down the road. With the emergence of what looks to be the Rookie of the Year in Luka Doncic and now with the addition of Porzingis, these two young stars could be what Dallas had with Steve Nash and Dirk Nowitzki. The thing is, Porzingis has to stay healthy. Right now, we don’t know that.
This is a gamble for the Mavs with the doing of this trade. Now don’t get it twisted, when healthy, Kristaps lives up to his nickname of “Unicorn.” However, an ACL injury isn’t a run of the mill injury, and secondly he’s 7’3”.
Going through the history of the NBA, there really has never been a player that has been 7’3” or above that has had a full career. Yao Ming had a great career, yes. Yet, NBA fans didn’t get Ming as long many would’ve hoped because of his foot issues. It could turn into that with Porzingis if this knee continues to give him trouble. These are just typical “what if” statements, but statements that can’t be ignored.
Yet, if he can be healthy and it’s close to certain that he’ll do everything he can to stay healthy, the damage that the duo of him and Luka Doncic could do with the right pieces around them is close to scary.
Now for the Knicks, many believed that Porzingis was supposed to be a part of the process to get this team back to relevancy in the Eastern Conference as well as the entire NBA. Now you decide to do this trade and essentially are banking on 2019.
The 2019 is a class with star-studded names: Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, DeMarcus Cousins, Klay Thompson, Kawhi Leonard and even Kemba Walker. We’re talking names that could change the landscape of a franchise.
New York is of the belief that two things are going to happen. First, they’ll sign two top free agents, which they hope one of which will be Kevin Durant. Secondly, they’ll get the No. 1 pick in the coming draft. In the event that the ping pong balls go in their favor and they do get the first pick, they’ll more than likely get Zion Williamson of Duke.
However, if you don’t get any free agents and don’t get the first pick, New York is the relegated to the back of the line as far as relevance to the NBA landscape. You can argue that they have been for years, but you at least thought that they we’re making a comeback once getting Porzingis and the promise he showed and you thought that could lure another one possibly two free agents.
Both teams have put everything on the line with these trades. However, both could work if you can get the basketball gods to smile on your teams.