Breakdown of the Kristaps Porzingis Trade
February 2, 2019
The NBA trade deadline usually creates several notable headlines, with disgruntled stars shipped to a new home before teams cannot make trades anymore. Although the deadline is a week away, there’s already a star player on the move: Kristaps Porzingis.
The New York Knicks agreed to trade Porzingis, along with Tim Hardaway Jr., Trey Burke and Courtney Lee, to the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for Dennis Smith Jr, Wesley Matthews, DeAndre Jordan and two future first round picks. Jordan and Matthews may be bought out by the Knicks and become free agents. The trade came immediately after Porzingis expressed frustration with the Knicks organization due to the the Knicks currently hold a 10-40 game record; the worst in the NBA.
Porzingis has not played in an NBA game since Feb. 6, 2018, when he went down with a torn left ACL two weeks after NBA coaches named him an All Star for the first time in his career. Porzingis averaged 22.4 points per game, 6.6 rebounds per game and 2.4 blocks per game in only 48 games last season. Although Knicks fans booed him when New York selected him as the fourth pick of the 2015 NBA draft, he contributed greatly in his three years with the Knicks.
Porzingis plans to inform the Mavericks that he will sign a qualifying offer this offseason when he becomes a restricted free agent. Since Porzingis will sign the qualifying offer, he will be an unrestricted free agent in the 2020 offseason, meaning the Mavericks cannot match any free agent offers Porzingis receives in 2020.
Tim Hardaway Jr., son of Miami Heat legend Tim Hardaway Sr. and an alumni of Miami Palmetto Senior High, averages a career high of 19.1 points per game this season, but also a career low 38.8 percent from the field. Hardaway is currently in the second year of a four year, $71 million contract he signed with the Knicks in 2017, meaning he will likely play out the rest of his contract in Dallas until traded again.
Two notable acquisitions for the Knicks include veteran center DeAndre Jordan and second year guard Dennis Smith Jr. Jordan, who spent the first 10 seasons of his career with the Los Angeles Clippers and made the All NBA First Team in 2016, signed with the Mavericks in the 2018 offseason. Ironically, Jordan had agreed to sign with the Mavericks back in the 2015 offseason before changing his mind and resigning with the Clippers that offseason. However, Jordan’s stint with the Mavericks did not go to plan, with Jordan putting up only 11 points per game and 13.7 rebounds per game, his lowest since the 2013-14 season.
Smith, on the other hand, almost became a Knick during the 2017 draft. The Knicks held the eighth pick in the draft that year, but opted to picture k Frank Ntilikina instead (both Smith and Ntilikina play primarily at the point guard position). So far, Smith has outplayed Ntilikina, putting up more points per game, rebounds per game, assists per game and steals per game than Ntilikina.
This trade will likely have a heavy impact on the direction both franchises are going in. The Mavericks will likely contend for the playoffs next season with a core of Porzingis, Rookie of the Year frontrunner Luka Dončić and forward Harrison Barnes. Meanwhile, the Knicks hope to acquire a higher pick in next year’s draft with heavily coveted talent, such as Duke’s Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett. Overall, this trade will cause quite a stir in the NBA for years to come.