When he was selected as the No. 4 overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, Latvian big man Kristaps Porzingis was viewed as one of the young players that would bring the New York Knicks back to title contention. By his second season with the Knicks, Porzingis had already become the face of the franchise. Unfortunately, Porzingis’ reign in New York City didn’t last long as they decided to part ways before the 2019 NBA trade deadline.
When they traded an injured Porzingis to the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for DeAndre Jordan, Wesley Matthews, Dennis Smith Jr., and a couple of first-round picks, the Knicks thought that they won the blockbuster trade. However, with their failure to maximize the assets they got from the Mavericks and reemergence of the Latvian center in Dallas, Marc Berman of the New York Post believes that the Knicks must be regretting how they handled Porzingis’ situation in New York.
“The Knicks failed to turn the cap space they opened up by trading Porzingis and Hardaway into another All-Star, while acquired point guard Dennis Smith Jr. has been a disappointment so far. These failures likely played a role in Steve Mills being fired as president in February. The best part of the haul was the two future first-rounders the Knicks received from Dallas, both of which may be used by Rose in a trade for a standout like Porzingis.”
When thinking about the haul that they received from the Mavericks before the 2019 February NBA trade deadline, it’s hard to blame the Knicks for seeing themselves as the winners of the Porzingis blockbuster trade. Entering the 2019 NBA offseason with two maximum salary cap space and a plethora of trade assets, Knicks owner James Dolan expressed strong confidence that multiple superstars would be coming to New York. Unfortunately, the summer of 2019 concluded with the Knicks failing to acquire their top targets in both the free agency and trade market.
With the current talents on their roster, it’s no longer a surprise that the Knicks remain as one of the worst NBA teams in the league. Meanwhile, though it took time for him to recover from his injury, Porzingis is currently performing very well with the Mavericks. In Dallas, Porzingis not only got the massive contract that the Knicks were hesitant to give him, but he also has the opportunity to legitimately contend for the NBA championship title this year. Before the NBA went on a hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic, Porzingis and the Mavericks were sitting in the No. 7 spot in the Western Conference with a 40-27 record.