The Dallas Mavericks have agreed to a surprise trade for one of the most talented young players in the NBA, the New York Knicks’ Kristaps Porzingis.
The Knicks acquired Dennis Smith Jr, DeAndre Jordan and Wesley Matthews in the deal, while also sending guards Tim Hardaway Jr, Trey Burke and Courtney Lee to Dallas. New York general manager Scott Perry said the Knicks would get an unprotected first-round pick in 2021 and another first-round pick in 2023. The 7ft 3in Porzingis has been out for nearly a year with a knee injury but was voted an NBA All-Star for the first time last season and was averaging 22.3 points per game before he tore his ACL.
The 23-year-old Latvian will join up with another talented young European player, Luka Doncic, in Dallas. Doncic, 19, is expected to be named the NBA’s rookie of the year in the coming months. Both played professionally in Spain before coming to the NBA as top-five picks.
Porzingis was the fourth-overall pick in the 2015 draft but has reportedly been unhappy with the Knicks’ management over the direction the franchise is heading for some time, and on Thursday he told the team he no longer wanted to play for them. ESPN reported that the Knicks initially contacted the New Orleans Pelicans to see if they would be interested in trading Anthony Davis in return for Porzingis. Davis has expressed his desire to leave New Orleans, but the Pelicans were reportedly not interested in a trade.
“When [Porzingis] came in today, it was clear to us that it was time to pull the trigger on something,” Knicks president Steve Mills said.