The NBA world was stunned on Thursday when word broke that after a meeting with the Knicks, Kristaps Porzingis was being discussed in trade talks.
Those talks didn’t last long as the Mavericks quickly got a deal done to bring Porzingis to Dallas to pair with Luka Doncic and create what appears to be a dynamic pairing for the future. Dallas shipped off Dennis Smith Jr., a future first-round pick, DeAndre Jordan, and Wesley Matthews — the latter of which both have contracts expiring this summer — for Porzingis, Courtney Lee, Trey Burke, and Tim Hardaway Jr. It was a curious move, given Porzingis’ potential, but we might know why the cost was a little bit less than most would’ve expected.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Porzingis may only be a one-year rental in Dallas. Despite having not played in more than a year due to a torn ACL, Porzingis will apparently inform the Mavs he will sign the qualifying offer this summer to allow himself to enter unrestricted free agency in 2020.
However, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN noted no decision has been made about what he’ll do this summer.
It would be an exceedingly bold move given his health problems in the past, but he may want to control his destiny for the future. The Mavs will hope his friendship with Doncic blossoms into amazing on-court chemistry that gives them a path to sign him in 2020, but it does highlight a greater risk in making this deal than most would have originally assumed.
If he does indeed follow through on taking the qualifying offer and then walks in 2020, it would mean the Mavs took a huge risk and would end up with a year of paying Tim Hardaway Jr. $19 million and no Porzingis in Doncic’s third season. Still, even though they took on money for next year, Hardaway is the only one with money on the books for 2020-21, so even if Porzingis leaves, they’ll have plenty of money to chase other stars — and, of course, money to try and keep Porzingis in town.