In 2019, the Dallas Mavericks pulled off a stunning trade and were able to acquire NBA All-Star big man Kristaps Porzingis from the New York Knicks. With Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis paired up with one another, many expected the Mavericks to be a dominant force in the Western Conference, but they have really struggled at times.
Last year, the Mavericks went 43-32, losing in the first-round of the playoffs to the Los Angeles Clippers, and this year, the Mavs are just 40-29, looking to avoid having to play in this year’s Play-In Tournament format.
Doncic has been his dominant, MVP-caliber self this year, but Kristaps Porzingis has been really inconsistent all year long. He has had injury concerns all season long and with his struggles at times offensively, the Mavericks as a team have struggled to beat some of the better teams in the league.
After just two years, could the Dallas Mavericks actually look to make Kristaps Porzingis in trade talks this offseason?
In the grand scheme of things, this may not actually be that bad of an idea and here are three reasons why getting rid of Porzingis now could make sense for the Mavericks.
Kristaps Porzingis has reached the peak of his career
Kristaps Porzingis is only 25-years-old and will be 26 by the time next season begins, but there is a belief that Porzingis is already as good as he will be. Standing about 7’3”, Porzingis is much more of a jump shooter and three-point threat than he is a “back-to-the-basket,” low-post threat, but there is really not much else to his game.
Porzinigs has averaged 1.9 blocks per game for his career and has averaged 18.7 points per game over the course of his career, but can he really be the second-best option on a potential championship contending team?
Dallas is set to pay Porzingis $101.5M over the next three seasons, with him having a player option of $36M for the final year of his contract in 2023-24, but this could be valuable cap space that the Mavericks could look to bring in better, more value type players.
There is no denying that Porzingis is an above-average player and is definitely a key focus in this Mavericks offensive attack, but he will be eating up $30M+ per year over the next three seasons. With an estimated $21M entering this upcoming offseason, Dallas will have plenty of options to add more talent, but they could add two, possibly three big time players if they were to move Porzingis in the process.
It is definitely a risk for the Mavericks to look and trade Kristaps Porzingis, but he has not been as productive as they may have originally thought and this may be the best version of himself that he will ever be in terms of productivity.
The narrative that “Porzingis is injury prone” has continued in Dallas
When the Mavericks traded for Kristaps Porzingis, they knew that he had been labeled as “injury prone” and he was coming off of an ACL injury, but Porzingis has yet to play a full season with the Mavericks and has missed nearly 40% of their total games this year.
Last season, Porzingis missed about 24% of Dallas’s total games and he missed three critical playoff games against the Clippers due to a torn meniscus in his right knee. This injury carried over to this year as well, which is why he has missed a lot of games this season.
It seems like Porzingis can never stay on the court and remain healthy and for a guy standing above 7-feet tall, these knee injuries and leg injuries are going to start to add up. His mobility has already taken a hit and he looks visibly slower this season, which is definitely a yellow flag moving forward.
Long-term health wise, Kristaps Porzingis may never play a full season for the Mavericks and may have to sit out games here and there because of wear and tear to his body. He has suffered two major knee injuries to separate knees and moving forward, the narrative that Porzingis is “injury prone” will likely continue.
Dallas can salvage some value by trading him in the offseason
If Dallas made Kristaps Porzingis available in trade talks, there would definitely be a handful of teams who would be interested in trading for him. Taking on a $30M per year contract over the next three years would be difficult for most teams to absorb, but there are a select few teams who could make this trade possible.
As a result, the Mavericks could look to salvage some kind of value from Kristaps Pozingis before his value begins to decline greatly. He is still 25-years-old and at the peak of his career, which is why trading him for some draft compensation and key role players could be a smart move.
Tim Hardaway Jr. and Josh Richardson are expected to be free agents this offseason, which means Dallas will not only have to improve their roster by adding another superstar talent to pair with Luka Doncic, but they will have to fix their bench, which has been a major problem for them this year.
Outside of Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis this year, the Mavericks have “rolled the dice” with who will give them the production they need, which is why they have been really inconsistent all season long.
With Luka Doncic playing like an MVP caliber guy, this team definitely has a chance to grow into a championship contender, but they will need to surround him with other great talent. Porzingis is good, but the question of whether or not he is still “great” needs to be answered this offseason by the Dallas Mavericks.