Skip to main content

Mavs Vowed to Not Trade Kristaps Porzingis; What Changed? What’s Next?

The Dallas Mavericks shifted course from a long expressed sense of optimism about Kristaps Porzingis. What changed for the team to trade him?

The Dallas Mavericks were expected by some to have a relatively quiet trade deadline. The goal has been to retain Dorian Finney-Smith and Jalen Brunson and as a result, there wouldn't be much for options to shake things up. 

Things changed rather quickly after an opportunity presented itself for the Mavericks to trade Kristaps Porzingis to the Washington Wizards in exchange for Spencer Dinwiddie and Davis Bertans. Dallas shopping Porzingis was a late development that surfaced on the day of the trade deadline beginning with rumors.

F1959D64-1D28-48FD-96F2-316BF17CF4E5
AB1E23D5-1A17-45B5-8A1A-13330CE9F464

The idea of salary dumping Porzingis has always been met with concern in the past due to his low trade value. The perception of doing such a move was the fear of lowering the playoff ceiling of the team while also still taking on negative assets.

“That’s not true. Why would I do that at all?” Mavs owner Mark Cuban told NBA.com when asked back in November about trade rumors involving Porzingis. “Trades like that, you always end up further behind. When you trade a superstar, you never get the best end of it.”

The optimism level was high surrounding Porzingis' outlook for the 2021-22 season in the early stages. Greater accommodation of his skill-set would come in the half-court offense under coach Jason Kidd and Porzingis would be ready to capitalize after having a rare healthy offseason to work on his game.

053F14F3-16D4-4BEE-BA91-8297C2E8A36E
FD518395-C2B7-4FCD-8C4B-9290D84E5469

The early portion of the season was almost a declaration of victory over those that expressed the sentiment expressing the belief that a trade involving Porzingis after his disappointing playoff performance was the right move. 

“I’ve always believed that KP hasn’t played his best basketball yet. Now you’re seeing why we didn’t trade him,” Cuban said in November. “He’s a great player. He’s a good dude. All of my experiences with him have been positive. So why would we do that? But that’s NBA Twitter and that’s Mavs Twitter. That’s what they do. They’re probably trying to trade Luka right now.”

One would expect a change of course when new information is made available. That raises the question; what emerged as new about Porzingis? It seems the recent play when he's been on the floor showed diminished results while his lack of availability persisted beyond missing games due to a positive COVID-19 test.

After returning from the NBA's health and safety protocol, Porzingis played his final eight games as a member of the Mavericks. His final game ended after 11 minutes of action—excluding that performance—he averaged 16.3 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks in 28.5 minutes per game in those seven games.

USATSI_17530921_168388359_lowres
USATSI_17522403_168388359_lowres

The Mavericks have managed to succeed without Porzingis as of late and largely overall throughout his tenure with the team. Dallas has posted a 14-8 record (.636) in games played without Porzingis and over the last three regular seasons, Dallas has posted a 36-22 record (.621) in games played with Doncic and without Porzingis. 

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

Kevin Durant, Brooklyn Nets
Play

Kevin Durant Gives Nets Owner Trade Ultimatum

As the offseason rolls on, keep up with all news as it relates to the Dallas Mavericks right here with our DallasBasketball.com NBA Tracker.

dragic-doncic-brothers
Play

‘I Was Batman, Now I’m Robin’: Dragic on Joining Mavs’ Doncic at EuroBasket 2022

Slovenia won the EuroBasket title in 2017 with Goran Dragic leading the way. Now, a grown up Luka Doncic will be the leader five years later.

Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks, Slovenian Men's National Team, 2021 Tokyo Olympics
Play

Mavs Star Luka Doncic Motivated by Critics

Luka Doncic continues to shut out critics and use criticism as motivation.

Ultimately, having a stretch big that isn't hitting shots who also feels deserving of being featured offensively with limited shot creation ability does not add much for an offense. While there will be challenges come playoff time, Dallas has complementary play-finishing talents that know their role and do what it takes to play it at a high level.

"Obviously, we're going to miss [Kristaps Porzingis'," Doncic said. "We're building something great here. ... We wish him the best."

Ultimately, having a stretch big that isn't hitting shots who also feels deserving of being featured offensively with limited shot creation ability does not add much for an offense. While there will be challenges come playoff time, Dallas has complementary play-finishing talents that know their role and do what it takes to play it at a high level.

At the beginning of the season, the Mavericks deployed a clunky frontcourt of Porzingis at the four alongside Powell. There were times when Porzingis was attempting to post-up and got in the way of Doncic running a high ball screen. Now, Dallas is going small with Dorian Finney-Smith and Reggie Bullock on the wings ready to attack off the catch while they have a lob threat or pick-and-pop threat filling the five spot throughout games. 

The new starting lineup consisting of Jalen Brunson in the backcourt alongside Doncic with Finney-Smith, Bullock, and Powell has already become the Mavericks' most-used lineup this season. During the 116 minutes this group has shared the floor, they have posted a 131.0 offensive rating, 100.4 defensive rating, and 30.6 net rating.

With the Mavericks embracing Brunson in the starting backcourt, there has been a recent void in the bench unit. Adding a key initiator to take the reigns a bit to run high ball screens, be able to get a bucket when plays break down and create shots for teammates has been needed. Dallas hopes that Dinwiddie becomes that. Meanwhile, surrounding Doncic with shooting has been a key formula and that's where Bertans factors into the situation.

“I think KP’s an incredible talent. But we needed that shooter [Bertans] and we needed another ball handler [Dinwiddie] who could create a shot, and unfortunately, that was the only way we were going to get them,” Cuban told The Dallas Morning News.

spencer-dinwiddie
USATSI_17625918

There is certainly risk involved with both Dinwiddie and Bertans, and it certainly remains to be seen whether it will pan out. However, the rationale behind moving Porzingis, in general, is one that certainly was justified from the Mavericks' perspective. At some point, making a change is needed. 

Finding a legitimate co-star has been a need for the Mavericks for quite some time—the Porzingis trade does not change that. With Nico Harrison at the helm, much has been made about the Mavericks' improved outlook when it comes to recruiting talent in free agency.