In the same afternoon reports leaked about Kristaps Porzingis asking the New York Knicks for a trade, a deal was completed to send him to the Dallas Mavericks.
Boy, talk about speaking things into existence.
This afternoon a Woj tweetstorm let us all in on a meeting between Kristaps Porzingis and the Knicks where expressed concern about the direction of the franchise and, maybe, asked for a trade. As our brains were still running through this new reality, Marc Stein of The New York Times reported that a deal was in place to send Porzingis to Dallas.
The deal, as reported right now, has Porzingis, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Courtney Lee heading to Dallas. Going back to New York will be DeAndre Jordan and Wes Matthews, both expiring contracts, along with Dennis Smith Jr. and future first-round draft compensation. The upshot here for the Knicks, in sending out perhaps the most talented player they’ve had on the roster since Patrick Ewing, is a talented young point guard, a future first-round pick and what should be enough salary cap space for two max contracts this summer.
Imagining two hypothetical max players in those slots, let’s call them Kevin Dirving and Dyrie Kurant, along with Kevin Knox and Dennis Smith Jr. moves the Knicks a lot further along than where they are right now. The question is — would made-up stars like Dirving and Kurant find Smith Jr. and Knox intriguing enough to overlook the holes on the rest of the roster and the legacy of mismanagement the Knicks hold. And, secondly, is that core really an ideal endgame. Two stars in their prime and two talented young players who are potentially three or four years away from theirs doesn’t exactly make for a cohesive timeline. Especially when you look at veteran cores like the Raptors or Bucks, or teams like the 76ers and Celtics with multiple young stars-on-the-rise much further along than Smith Jr. and Knox.
For Dallas, this is a ridiculous slam dunk. The only risk here is the timeline and outcome of Porzingis’ ACL recovery but even if the injury slightly lowers the ceiling on his developmental curve he’s still an elite big man with the kind of versatile game that should fit seamlessly with Luka Doncic at both ends of the floor. This also firmly re-aligns the Mavericks timeline around opening a window to contention in two to three years which clarifies all sorts of other impending decisions they’ll have to make about their roster.
It looked like the deadline was going to be defined by the Anthony Davis sweepstakes. We still have another week of rumors and wrangling to look forward to before the Pelicans likely kick the can down the road, but at least we got some trade fireworks in early.