The Unicorn will now carry the torch left behind by Dirk Nowitzki and team up with Luka Doncic. What led to this massive deal?
Kristaps Porzingis was seen by many as the evolved version of Dirk Nowitzki, but who knew how literally that concept would be applied? The onetime New York Knicks savior is now a member of Dirk’s Dallas Mavericks after a blockbuster deal one week before the 2019 trade deadline.
The trade sends Porzingis, Trey Burke, Courtney Lee, and Tim Hardaway Jr. to Dallas in exchange for disgruntled point guard prospect Dennis Smith Jr., Wesley Matthews, DeAndre Jordan, and a future first-round pick (but not one before 2021).
In trading Hardaway and Lee, the Knicks also cleared more than $31 million in cap space for this summer, when Kevin Durant and many others are free agents. Their motivation for this trade is clear. Dallas, meanwhile, found Luka Doncic a potential co-star, though there is much risk involved given Porzingis’ injury history.
The trade came minutes after news broke about Porzingis expressing his displeasure with the organization in a meeting with management. That beef goes back to the Phil Jackson era, and evidently the Scott Perry-led regime hadn’t done enough to alleviate it.
By the way, Porzingis has not played this season due to a torn ACL and probably won’t return for some time, if at all, this year. He’s also a restricted free agent this summer and is making noise about taking the qualifying offer so he can become an unrestricted free agent in 2020. New York decided to trade him instead of dealing with that potential situation. What will Dallas do?
How did we get here, and what happens next? Follow this StoryStream for all the context you need, and check out our team sites (Posting and Toasting for Knicks fans; Mavs Moneyball for Dallas fans) for even more coverage