It’s been three years since the Dallas Mavericks made the blockbuster trade with the Knicks to bring Kristaps Porzingis in to be Luka Doncic’s second star, but to this point the partnership has been far more one-sided than the Mavs had hoped when they maxed out Porzingis.
Health has remained an issue for the Latvian star, but even when he’s been on the court his production, particularly in key situations like this year’s first round series against the Clippers, has not matched up with the investment the Mavs made in him. Alternately, the other player the Mavs got in that trade, Tim Hardaway Jr., has been good for Dallas, particularly during this postseason. That has been what many consider to be a bonus since Hardaway was considered a bit of an afterthought in the Porzingis deal, but his father insists it was the other way around.
Tim Hardaway Sr. went on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas this weekend and made the claim that it was Porzingis who was the throw-in player for the Mavs, saying they initiated conversations with the Knicks about Hardaway first and then found out Porzingis was available.
“Y’all wrong, the conversation was they were trying to get Tim here,” Hardaway said. “I’m serious. I’m going to tell you the truth. Dallas wanted to get Tim. … I’m telling you the God’s honest truth, and they aren’t going to tell you that, (but) I know for a fact that they said, ‘(the Knicks) what you think about Porzingis?’ And they (the Mavs) were like, ‘Porzingis is available?’ And they (the Mavs) were like, ‘what you thinking?’ And they (the Knicks) were like, ‘hmm, okay, let’s put this together and we’ll call you back.’ They put something together and something happened.
“Now, everybody is saying that Tim Hardaway Jr. was a throw-in. No, Porzingis was a throw-in. Because they (the Mavs) called for Tim Hardaway Jr., and they were going to make a deal for Tim Hardaway Jr., and it so happened that the Knicks didn’t want Porzingis anymore because of what he demanded. So, when people say Tim Hardaway Jr. was a throw-in that pisses me off because nobody knows what really happened.”
Now, one has to consider the source in something like this, but it’s not unthinkable for the initial conversation to be about Hardaway Jr. and for Porzingis to then later come up and the two sides realizing they could work something out for both. The Mavs have pushed back on the idea that Hardaway Jr. was anything less than a significant part of the deal and that seems to be the point that Hardaway Sr. is making — although, saying Porzingis was “a throw-in” is certainly going to raise eyebrows.
Porzingis’ production in the regular season has been terrific, as has Hardaway’s, but it’s been in key moments in close games and in these playoffs where the frustration about Porzingis has been clear. His impact has simply not been where it needs to be for the Mavs and if it were, Dallas may very well be already on to the second round against Utah rather than facing a Game 7 in L.A. on Sunday afternoon.