- The New York Knicks and the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday agreed to a trade in which the All-Star big man Kristaps Porzingis will go to the Mavs.
- The deal included as many as five other players and draft picks, according to reports.
- The trade appeared to materialise quickly. Reports of the deal came about an hour after ESPN reported on a meeting Porzingis had with Knicks management.
The New York Knicks and the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday agreed to a blockbuster trade centering on the All-Star big man Kristaps Porzingis.
According to multiple reports, the Knicks agreed to send Porzingis, Tim Hardaway Jr., and Courtney Lee to the Mavericks in return for Dennis Smith Jr., DeAndre Jordan, and Wesley Matthews. Draft picks are expected to be part of the package too.
The trade seemed to materialise out of nowhere. On Thursday afternoon, ESPN reported that Porzingis had met with Knicks management to express his concern and frustration with the direction of the franchise. Management reportedly came away with the feeling that Porzingis wanted to be traded.
Just over an hour after ESPN published its report, multiple NBA journalists reported that the Knicks and the Mavs were finalising a deal centered on Porzingis.
Porzingis, 23, has missed almost one year since tearing his ACL last February. Porzingis had been having an All-Star 2017-18 season, averaging 22 points and nearly seven rebounds, two three-pointers, and two blocks per game.
The move is a massive swing by the Mavericks, who find an All-Star big man to pair with the rookie sensation Luka Doncic. They also strengthen their wing rotations by adding Lee and Hardaway, who the Knicks had to move to open the necessary cap space this summer to pursue big-name free agents.
Meanwhile, the deal is a stunner for the Knicks. Porzingis was long viewed (and talked about) as a centrepiece of the franchise during their rebuild. The Knicks plan to pursue superstar free agents like Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving this summer, and Porzingis had been considered a recruiting tool – a young, growing All-Star to play alongside another star player.
Matthews and Jordan are both expiring contracts, meaning the Knicks could go into the summer with enough cap space for two max contracts. In acquiring Smith, who the Knicks passed on in the 2017 draft to take guard Frank Ntilikina, they add another young, talented prospect to their core of “second draft” players – players who were drafted high and fizzled out with other teams and are seen as reclamation projects.
The Knicks, at 10-40, have the worst record in the NBA. Unless they land one or two major free agents this summer, it appears they’re extending their rebuild even further.
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