On Saturday, a bombshell report emerged that NBA star Kristaps Porzingis was being investigated for a rape claim in New York — something his new team has reportedly known for several months.
As the New York Post reported, police in Manhattan have begun investigating a claim from a former neighbor that Porzingis invited her into his apartment last year and raped her. The unnamed woman said the incident took place on February 7, 2018, hours after Porzingis suffered a season-ending injury.
The woman said that Porzingis later agreed to pay her $68,000 that she planned to use to help her brother attend college, but she said he never came through. The report noted that the woman has now told police about the alleged rape and that they found the claim to be credible, prompting an investigation.
The allegation brought new attention to the blockbuster trade that sent Porzingis to the Dallas Mavericks and led to new assessments over whether the rape allegation could threaten his future with the team.
ESPN insider Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Twitter that the Dallas Mavericks had known about the pending rape claim against the talented big man even before the teams pulled off the trade. As Wojnarowski reported, the Knicks informed the Mavericks of the allegation and that the NBA league office was made aware as well. The Mavericks still went through with the trade, though it was not yet clear if the pending allegation changed any dynamic of it.
Kristaps Porzingis released a statement saying that he was the one who notified the league and said he had also contacted federal authorities, claiming that the woman was trying to extort him. The Dallas Mavericks forward released a statement through attorney Roland G. Riopelle saying that the NBA was notified months ago and has been aware of the ongoing investigation.
The Dallas Mavericks were widely praised for the trade that landed Porzingis. As CBS Sports noted at the time of the trade, it appeared that the Mavericks had fleeced the Knicks of a player thought to be the building block for New York into the future.
“[W]hatever the highest available grade is, the Mavericks deserve higher. Like 150 percent. An A with like 20 pluses,” the report noted in an assessment of the trade.
“Just an absolute grand slam of a deal. Unbelievable.”
It is not yet clear what discipline Kristaps Porzingis could face from the NBA. The league has some leeway to level suspensions against players even if not convicted of a crime.