The Dallas Mavericks and the New York Knicks have agreed to a blockbuster trade highlighted by Kristaps Porzingis and Dennis Smith Jr.:
Kristaps Porzingis, Tim Hardaway Jr., Courtney Lee, and Trey Burke.
Dennis Smith Jr., DeAndre Jordan, Wes Matthews, and two future first-round picks.
Here is everything you need to know about the trade and what it will take for the Mavericks to sign Porzingis to a long-term deal.
Just a few days ago I wrote about the Top 10 Free Agent Power Forwards and had the following to say about Porzingis and the Mavs:
“The fact remains that if Porzingis is ever going to be a Dallas Maverick and run with Luka and DSJ it will not be until 2020 unless there is a trade. But KP is called the Unicorn for a reason, he is a true do-it-all player in a 7’3″ frame. If Donnie Nelson and Mark Cuban can pull some sort of miracle, MFFLs would be forever grateful.”
They have heard my calls and delivered potentially the best pair of Superstars that the Dallas Mavericks franchise has ever had…and they are only 19 and 24 years old! This is an absolutely joyous day for MFFLs everywhere!
I love Dennis Smith Jr and was not one of the people saying that he and Luka can’t play together and pounding the table for him to be traded but the opportunity to get running-mate like Porzingis to go along with Slovenian Sensation Luka Dončić. I think DSJ will be able to thrive in New York and wish him all the best. Side note, I am also going to miss the fandom and shoutouts from J. Cole that goes along with having fellow Fayettville, North Carolina native Dennis Smith Jr on your roster.
So now that Kristaps Porzingis is a Dallas Maverick, what are the chances we retain him long-term?
For the Mavericks to make Porzingis a restricted free agent this Summer, they must submit a qualifying offer of 1yr/$4.5M after this season. If Porzingis agrees to this offer he will play under the one year deal and become an unrestricted free agent the following year. If he does not sign the qualifying offer, he becomes a restricted free agent where the Mavs can match any offer given to Porzingis by another team.
There are already some reporters coming out and saying that Porzingis plans to sign his qualifying offer this summer, making him incredibly cheap next year then an unrestricted free-agent in 2020. This would not be an ideal situation for the Mavericks, if Porzingis is willing to play for 1yr/$4.5M dollars it would mean one of two things. If he does not think he will be offered a max contract in free-agency coming off his ACL surgery he could delay one more year and looks for a max contract in 2020. The other scenario would be that he just does not want to be a Maverick long term and wants to go somewhere else the next year.
I am sure the Mavericks are confident they can retain Porzingis if they were willing to mortgage the future by give up Dennis Smith Jr and future first round picks to obtain him. The Mavs have a lot to offer Porzingis. Of course there is the opportunity to play with the brightest young star in the game, Luka Dončić. We also have other very promising young talent in Harrison Barnes, Jalen Brunson, Dorian Finney-Smith, Maxi Kleber. He also has the opportunity to spend time NBA legend and his basketball idol, Dirk Nowitzki. Now that Porzingis is a Dallas Maverick they will be able to offer him the 5yr/$158M super-max deal rather than the 4 yr/$117M that any other team can offer. As a restricted free agent the Mavs could either just match any teams offer or just choose to offer him the 5 year super-max themselves. If KP is worried that he will not land max money in restricted free agency coming off of a torn ACL, it would make sense to delay one year, prove he is the same guy, and sign a max deal in 2020.
Mavs fans would like to see Porzingis NOT sign his qualifying offer, become a restricted free agent this summer and allow the Mavericks to match any offer given to him. Even if he does sign qualifying offer the Mavericks can still feel good about being the only team able to offer him the super-max in 2020.
Mavs Roster and Contracts
As of right now, this is what the Dallas Mavericks roster and future contracts look like.
Player Option, Team Option, Qualifying Offer
|Tim Hardaway Jr.||26||$17,325,000||$18,150,000||$18,975,000|
Now, instead of having a potential $57M in cap space this Summer, the Dallas MAvericks will project to have just under $24M in cap pace assuming Barnes and Powell opt-in and Porzingis takes the qualifying offer.
The New Guys
The Dallas Mavericks have brought on 4 new players in this trade: Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway Jr., Courtney Lee, and the Unicorn Kristaps Porzingis. Lets take a look at how each of these players have performed for the Knicks over the past few seasons.
Trey Burke, PG, age 26
Trey Burke is on a small expiring contract so we are not able to say if he is part of the future for the Dallas Mavericks but it is doubtful. He knows how to score and can really fill it up when he is hot, but he is inconsistent. He may get some minutes this season but I do not see him in a Mavericks uniform beyond that.
Tim Hardaway Jr., SG, age 26
Hardaway is definitely an intruiging prospect. This season he is scoring at a high rate, 19 ppg, but he is very inefficient at just 39% from the field. I think some of the poor shooting can be attributed to playing on such a bad team over the past two years. Hardaway is in over his head being the number one scoring option and it results in him having to take a lot of shots I don’t think he will get with Dallas. As an athletic 3 and D shooting guard I think Hardaway can excel and play a great role for the Mavs going forward. The 2 years and $37M owed to Hardaway is not at all ideal but for the opportunity to bring in Porzingis is worth the risk.
Courtney Lee, SG, age 33
Courtney Lee has been a good role player in the NBA for a long time. HE did not have much of a role with the Knicks this season, appearing in only 12 games at 13 minutes per game. Lee is on the books for 1 year at $12.7 M beyond this season, far from what he would actually be worth in the open market. You can see why the Knicks wanted to include Lee in the trade to clear their books this Summer to try their hand at free agency. However, given the opportunity I think Lee can still be a productive shooting guard in limited minutes while the Mavs wait out his contract.
Kristaps Porzingis, PF/C, age 23
Porzingis has been extremely productive in his two and a half years in the NBA. He is an elite shot blocker, elite shooter, and can create his own shot. He is not the best rebounder for his size, but his offensive versatilit and shot blocking allow the Mavericks to pair him with a big body rebounder without clogging up the lane on offense.
He has shown to be a fierce competitor and someone driven to improve his game and he has shown big leaps in each of his first few seasons.
It is pretty easy to see why Porzingis did not want to be a Knick anymore. He finally decided he does not want to spend his life playing for an ungrateful fanbase that boo’ed him on draft night. Seeing these fans hold up their Carmelo Anthony jerseys in pride while boo’ing Porzingis is cringe-worthy. Then in June of 2017, Knicks President of Basketball Operations Phil Jackson turned sour on Porzingis real fast and publicly had him on the trade market. Now the Knicks soon fired Jackson for his mind-boggling decisions but the fact remains that the New York Knicks franchise under Owner James Dolan is volatile, dysfunctional, and not Championship caliber. Porzingis will be hoping that the Knicks can either sign or draft top level talent, something they have shown to be poor at aside from drafting Porzingis (give Phil Jackson credit), recently by passing on Dennis Smith Jr for Frank Ntilikina in the 2017 draft.
Hopefully now Porzingis will call Dallas home and we will be able to watch WonderBoy and the Unicorn go into battle together for years to come.