After missing the last few months of the 2017-18 NBA season and the entirety of the 2018-19 campaign due to a torn ACL, Kristaps Porzingis is heading into the upcoming season as a member of the Dallas Mavericks, having been traded there in the deal that sent Dennis Smith Jr. and DeAndre Jordan to the New York Knicks. Rumors had previously suggested that Porzingis had given the Knicks an ultimatum to trade him prior to the February deadline, and these reports were corroborated by team president Steve Mils at a recent fan event.
Speaking at a fan forum series on Wednesday afternoon, Mills admitted that Porzingis had expressed unhappiness with the Knicks’ lack of progress as a rebuilding team when he gave his ultimatum. As cited by SportsNet New York, the 7-foot-3-inch Latvian power forward threatened to return to Europe just a few years after the Knicks made him the No. 4 overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft.
“When he walked into our office — my office and [general manager Scott Perry] was sitting there with me — and point blank said to us, ‘I don’t want to be here, I’m not going to re-sign with the Knicks, and I’ll give you seven days to try and trade me or I’m going back to Europe,” Mills said.
Per Bleacher Report, Mills’ recollection of Porzingis’ apparent ultimatum backed up the comments he made in February, where he said that the young big man “made it clear” he won’t be re-signing with the Knicks. A few days before the trade deadline, Porzingis and guards Tim Hardaway Jr., Courtney Lee, and Trey Burke were traded to the Dallas Mavericks, with New York getting Smith, Jordan, Wesley Matthews, and two future first-round draft picks in return.
“He … point-blank said to us, ‘I don’t want to be here.’” https://t.co/B0nuNPRL5N— SLAM (@SLAMonline) May 23, 2019
Porzingis, who has yet to see action in an NBA game since his February 2018 ACL injury, will be entering the 2019 offseason as a restricted free agent, with his qualifying offer for the 2019-20 season valued at under $4.5 million. Despite the low value, The Athletic’s Shams Charania noted in January that Porzingis still plans to sign this qualifying offer instead of entering the restricted free agent market. This makes it very likely that he will suit up for the Mavericks in the coming season, where he will be teaming up with erstwhile 2018-19 Rookie of the Year candidate Luka Doncic.
Prior to his injury, Porzingis averaged 17.8 points, 7.1 rebounds, 1.3 assists, and two blocks, while shooting 43.7 percent from the field and 36.1 percent from beyond the arc in 186 career games with the Knicks, as shown on his Basketball-Reference player page.