Nearly one year ago, the New York Knicks and Dallas Mavericks took part in a blockbuster deal. The Knicks agreed to send their young rising star, Kristaps Porzingis, to the Dallas Mavericks. Dallas also received Tim Hardaway Jr., Courtney Lee, and Trey Burke. In exchange, the Mavericks sent the Knicks a young Dennis Smith Jr., two future first round picks, and Deandre Jordan and Wesley Matthews‘ expiring contracts. This blockbuster deal sent shockwaves throughout the NBA, but the question was, will this trade be able to put the Dallas Mavericks over the hump? Over a year later, it is still a question everyone is trying to answer.
As we all know, Kristaps Porzingis is a rising young star. Porzingis was already voted as an all-star with the Knicks. However, he was not able to compete in that game. This was because of his biggest flaw- injuries. The main concern about Kristaps Porzingis is that he has a long list of injuries in his short time in the NBA thus far. So far in his career, he has yet to play in a full 82 game season.
He deals with a lot of knee problems and has already had a significant career surgery. Porzingis tore his ACL in his left knee in February of 2018. That alone caused him to miss 116 games. The young star has only been in Dallas for about a year now and has already had three injuries that have kept him out awhile.
The Dallas Mavericks made this deal to get their star centerpiece, Luka Doncic, another star to go alongside him. This trade was supposed to help the Dallas Mavericks get over the hump and get in position to make a postseason run. It is kind of hard to do that when your co-star is never on the court.
What Does This Mean for Luka and the Mavericks Going Forward?
KP’s injury woes put a ton of pressure on Luka, causing his usage rate to skyrocket, which is a bit concerning. To start the season, Dallas is off to a really slow start. They are 9-13 and ranked 13th in the Western Conference. Porzingis has only played in 11 out of their 22 games this season. You can see the difference in the team whenever both stars aren’t out there competing.
The Mavericks were in this same situation last year during the NBA bubble. Kristaps Porzingis was dealing with an injury, and it tremendously hurt the Mavericks’ chances in the playoffs. Dallas was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs. They lost to the Los Angeles Clippers in a six-game series.
In the trade, Dallas sent two first-round picks to the New York Knicks. The 2020 first-round pick ended up being number 27 for the Knicks. New York made a few moves, trading back and forth with the pick, and it ultimately became Immanuel Quickley.
Quickley has been on fire for the Knicks as their backup point guard. He is averaging about 21 points per game in their last 6 contests. If the Mavericks keep up their losing ways for this season, the 2021 first-round pick involved in the trade could end up being very good for New York, while Dallas is left without a first-rounder. Again.
Despite the negative topics for discussion about the deal for Dallas, there are also many great things to say.
Kristaps Porzingis has shown the world that he is an all-star level talent. Porzingis was named to the all-star team in 2017 as a member of the New York Knicks. He has proven that when healthy, he can be a significant difference-maker for a team. Porzingis is a career 18.4 points per game scorer. Along with that, he also brings down about 8 rebounds a game and 2 blocks per game. He is an elite inside-outside scorer who is a monster on the defensive side of the ball.
The Mavericks have a superstar in Luka Doncic. He is only 21 years of age, so he hasn’t even hit his peak yet. Kristaps Porzingis is only 25, so the thought of these two guys growing together and learning together is scary for the rest of the NBA. Dallas now has their two young stars for the foreseeable future. Now it is just up to the management to find players to compliment them both.
Dallas Wasn’t Concerned.
Obviously, Dallas was not too concerned about the two first-rounders that were given up to acquire Porzingis. They knew that they were going to be competing for a spot in the Western Conference Finals. Giving up just the two first-rounders were well worth it. Chances are, you are not going to find someone this special in the late first-round anyway.
In the deal, the Mavericks also gave up an (at the time) young and interesting piece in Dennis Smith Jr. With the addition of Luka Doncic; however, the need for Dennis Smith dwindled. They were obviously okay with letting him go. They also acquired three solid players from the Knicks that could be vital to their offense moving forward. Tim Hardaway Jr. is a nice wing scorer who can put up points in a hurry. He fits very well alongside Luka and Kristaps. Dallas also received Courtney Lee and Trey Burke. These two guards are great role players that every team needs. Especially if they are to try and compete for a championship.
Is There Regret for the Mavericks?
It would be safe to say, with all of these variables in mind, the Mavericks do not regret trading for Kristaps Porzingis. At this point in time, it is tough to judge whether or not you could regret trading for an all-star level talent. When on the court, he is producing at a very high level and helping his team win games. When Porzingis is off the court and injured, Dallas appears to be struggling to find its second scoring option. If Porzingis can stay healthy, Dallas would be more than happy to make the deal all over again.