The Dallas Mavericks thought they had a superstar duo in Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis when they acquired the forward from the New York Knicks, but things have not gone as expected.
Porzingis, who signed a five-year, $158 million contract extension that will keep him in Dallas through at least the 2022-23 season, has grown frustrated with his status next to Doncic in Dallas, according to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon.
“Porzingis has been frustrated, often feeling more like an afterthought than a co-star as Doncic dominates the ball and the spotlight, sources told ESPN,” MacMahon wrote. “Porzingis frequently made thinly veiled references during his postgame media availabilities, such as saying the ‘ball actually moved tonight’ after high-scoring performances or stating that the offense didn't involve him on low-scoring nights.”
The Mavericks led the Los Angeles Clippers 2-0 in the first round of the NBA playoffs, but they were unable to complete the upset. WynnBET hadn’t given the Mavs much of a chance in the series, and part of that was due to the poor play of Porzingis.
Dallas’ star forward averaged just 13.1 points and 5.4 rebounds per game in the playoffs after he put up 20.1 points, 8.9 rebounds, and 1.6 assists on a career-high 47.6 percent from the floor during the regular season.
The Mavericks are in a tough spot, as Porzingis’ deal will be hard to trade, but they also could decide to give him another chance to prove he can be a valuable piece going forward.
Doncic needs more help, and I wrote about three potential players that they could sign to improve the roster for next season. However, this would completely change if Porzingis ends up being dealt.
Trading for the massive contract of an underperforming and injury-prone star is never a great move, but here are three teams that might be willing to work out a trade with Dallas for KP.
The Wizards snuck into the playoffs this season, but they have a lot to do if they want to convince Bradley Beal to stay in Washington.
Bringing in Russell Westbrook has looked like a good move, especially after John Wall struggled to stay healthy, but the Wizards gave Davis Bertans an extension last offseason that he hasn’t lived up to.
In addition, FortyEightMinutes’ Chris Crouse reported that Washington is interested in Porzingis if the Mavs make him available. With Washington desperately trying to win, it could make sense to flip Bertans (who averaged just 11.5 points per game and saw his shooting numbers drop this year) and an asset for Porzingis.
The Mavs could use Bertans’ shooting to open the floor around Doncic, and they’d also gain more cap flexibility with KP off the books.
Wizards receive: Kristaps Porzingis, Josh Green
Mavericks receive: Davis Bertans, 2025 First-Round Pick (Top 10 Protected), Chandler Hutchinson
The Celtics and Mavs have one thing in common: A star player on a horrible contract.
For Boston, it’s Kemba Walker, who has dealt with knee injuries over the past few seasons and struggled in the postseason.
Walker, who has two years left on his deal (the second year is a player option), could be a good fit in Dallas if he’s healthy. The Mavericks struggled to find another ball handler after Doncic in the playoffs, but Walker would provide them a veteran presence that can still score (19.3 points per game this season).
The Celtics are in desperate need of a big man since losing Al Horford a few years back, and with Robert Williams nearing restricted free agency, the Celtics could use a sure thing at forward/center.
It may take more to convince the Mavericks to take on Walker’s contract, but this swap would help both teams improve on a weakness from this season.
Celtics receive: Kristaps Porzingis
Mavericks receive: Kemba Walker, Aaron Nesmith, 2022 Second-Round Pick
Golden State Warriors
The Warriors are more of a long shot to deal for Porzingis, but they do make a lot of sense if you consider the possibilities.
Golden State could try and facilitate a sign-and-trade with Kelly Oubre Jr. this offseason, and Dallas could certainly use Oubre’s length and scoring on the wing.
Porzingis for Oubre straight up likely wouldn’t happen, but the Warriors have some intriguing young pieces such as Jordan Poole and Eric Paschall that could entice the Mavericks as well.
Golden State has to improve around Steph Curry, and while Klay Thompson’s eventual return will help, he is an unknown quantity right now. Andrew Wiggins, who would’ve made sense in a deal for Porzingis, took a major step forward last season and will likely be back with the team.
Finding a center that can stretch the floor alongside Draymond Green seems like a no-brainer for the Warriors, even though it would block second-year big James Wiseman from some playing time.
If Porzingis doesn’t have much value around the league because of his deal, the Warriors may be able to pull off a trade if they can get it to work cap wise. Wiggins may have to be included for that aspect, but they could always move him in another deal.
Warriors receive: Kristaps Porzingis
Mavericks receive: Kelly Oubre Jr. or Andrew Wiggins, Eric Paschall, Kevon Looney