DALLAS - The Monday night report that has the Dallas Mavericks "sniffing around'' and "kicking the tires'' and "quietly gauging the trade market for Kristaps Porzingis'' has a ring of truth in it ... though that ring is insulated by the terminology used in the story on Bleacher Report. ... and further insulated by three obstacles to such a trade.
“They’ve kicked the tires on everybody on their roster that’s not named Luka (Doncic),” a league source told B/R. “You know Donnie; they’re always tinkering.”
While the Mavs might specifically deny the idea of them "shopping'' Porzingis, yes, it is the job of GM Donnie Nelson and staff to "gauge'' the value of players, on every team, including their own.
“They’ve definitely sniffed around on him,” an assistant general manager reportedly told B/R. “They’re taking the temperature ...''
And what do they find in that temperature-taking mission? Three obstacles to trading Porzingis.
Obstacle 1: Dallas would be selling low - absurdly low.
Porzingis, 25, missed the Mavs’ first nine games this season and has battled nagging injury issues, missing Monday's win over Memphis due to a back issue - so in total he's missed a dozen games for the 14-15 Mavs.
From B/R: "I think maybe you could squeak out a lottery-protected first from somebody," one capologist said, but that would likely only happen if Dallas took back other unwanted salaries.''
B/R makes an issue of Porzingis' "$158 million contract.'' But in fact, it's now a contract that averages $31 million annually, making him right around the 30th-highest-paid player in the NBA. Dallas isn't getting its money's worth right now, but the contract is not outrageous.
Meanwhile, B/R is suggesting that Dallas would essentially pay a team to take Porzingis in trade? That does not seem viable, because ...
Obstacle 2: Owner Mark Cuban and company are traditionally patient while awaiting growth from players.
While Donnie's "tinkering'' is worth noting, so is this franchise's penchant for patience. Yes, KP is now technically in his third year here following the mid-season 2019 trade with the Knicks. But the Mavs entered this situation with Porzingis with a keen awareness of the injury history and with a deep belief that he is, as coach Rick Carlisle puts it, a "cornerstone'' player.
Carlisle talks often of how Dallas employs not one (Doncic) but two such players.
At what point do you give up on a 25-year-old "cornerstone'' with All-Star "Unicorn'' ability? Dallas can argue that it's won six of its last 10 games, and that Porzingis improving from where he is now will cause improvement in the record ... maybe to the point that Dallas vaults nearer its goal of true contention.
Obstacle 3: The relationship business.
This is a big thing to the Mavs. The relationship Donnie and his staff has had with the Porzingis family since Kristaps was a teenager in Latvia. The relationship that the front office has build with him now. The relationship he shares with Doncic.
If there is a way to trade Porzingis that results in a Luka-friendly return? That's feasible. There is no crime in Dallas exploring ways to acquire Bradley Beal, Victor Oladipo, Zach LaVine and the like.
Trading KP? Maybe; The Mavericks have reached out to the Golden State Warriors to gauge interest in a Kristaps Porzingis, sources tell SNY's Ian Begley.
But "dumping'' KP? There is no value in doing that, there is no history of Dallas doing its business that way and there is every likelihood that Doncic would disagree with such a move.
CONTINUE READING: Are Dallas Mavs' 'Gunslingers & Gamblers' Ready For NBA Trade Deadline?