Knicks Officially Trade Kristaps Porzingis To Mavericks

January 31, 2019 - 4:18 pm
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By WFAN.com

The Knicks have officially traded their biggest star, Kristaps Porzingis, to the Dallas Mavericks.

The stunning development Thursday came hours after the All-Star power forward reportedly met with Knicks management to vent about the direction of the franchise.

Porzingis voiced his frustration with the team's losing ways and expressed his concern that a culture is developing that will make sustained organizational success unlikely, ESPN reported. The Knicks and Mavericks have now finalized the trade.

MORE: Mike Francesa Reacts To The Stunning Kristaps Porzingis Trade

The Knicks will also send guards Tim Hardaway Jr., Courtney Lee and Trey Burke to Dallas in exchange for Dennis Smith Jr., two future first-round picks and the expiring contracts of center DeAndre Jordan and swingman Wesley Matthews. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the two first-round picks are a 2021 unprotected first-rounder and a 2023 protected first-rounder.

The deal will create enough salary cap space for the Knicks to sign two max contract free agents this summer. Moving Hardaway and Lee were key in making that happen. Hardaway has two years, $37.1 million remaining on his deal after this season; Lee is owed $12.8 million in the final year of his contract in 2019-20.

Smith, a point guard drafted ninth overall by Dallas in 2017, is averaging 12.9 points and 4.3 assists this season. Jordan is managing 11.0 points and 13.7 rebound per game, while Matthews is managing 13.1 points per game on the year. 

Porzingis, who is set to become a restricted free agent this summer, is planning to inform the Mavericks he intends to sign a qualifying offer, The Athletic's Shams Charania reported. Wojnarowski contested that report.

Porzingis has not played since tearing his ACL in February 2018. He was enjoying an All-Star season when he got hurt last year, averaging a career-high 22.7 points per game. The Knicks said in December that Porzingis' knee is making good progress in rehab, but they have not given a timeline for him to return to game action. 

The 7-foot-3 Latvian's name surfaced in trade rumors this week almost immediately after news broke that New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis had requested a trade. The Knicks were reportedly preparing to make an offer for Davis.

The Knicks own the NBA's worst record at 10-40, but winning has not been the organization's focus this season as it rebuilds with the goal of becoming a consistent contender down the road. But that apparently was a strategy Porzingis was not on board with.

This was not the first sign of cracks in the relationship between Porzingis and the Knicks. In April 2017, he skipped his season exit meeting with then-team president Phil Jackson. Two months later, Jackson dangled Porzingis in trade talks before the draft.