Kristaps Porzingis
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How Does The Kristaps Porzingis Trade Look Two Years Later?

At the beginning of 2019, pandemonium ensued at Madison Square Garden when the Knicks traded injured star Kristaps Porzingis to the Dallas Mavericks for what seemed like pennies on the dollar. New York made this trade to clear out cap space in the hopes of landing two max-level free agents while Dallas wanted to add another big name to budding franchise star Luka Dončić. In the process, the Knicks also acquired two future first-round picks, and Dennis Smith Jr., a promising second-year guard the Knicks passed up in the 2017 draft. Over two years later, it is time to see how this blockbuster trade worked out for both sides.

For The Mavericks: No Panic Yet, But…

Looking back, the KP trade has gone sideways at best for Dallas. The franchise expected the Latvian 7-footer to rediscover his all-star form after recovering from ACL surgery and paid him handsomely in the summer of 2019, but Porzingis has been injury-prone and inconsistent. It also appears that the relationship between him and Doncic is also starting to break down, despite instant chemistry between the two at the time of the trade. With rumors swirling of Dončić’s hesitancy to stay in Dallas long-term, Mark Cuban and the front office will have their work cut out for them in the offseason. Dončić has been absolutely electric in his past two playoff appearances, but both were cut off by the Los Angeles Clippers in disappointing fashion. Porzingis has barely even been a factor, as he was injured in the bubble during their 2020 series and seemingly disappeared in the 2021 First Round. Tim Hardaway Jr. made a valuable contribution in his place and showed that he was more than just a bloated contract and salary filler. He emerged as a valuable shot-creator in both rounds against the Clippers and should receive a nice contract this offseason. To make matters worse for the Mavs, they could even be trading away Porzingis this summer after it was reported that he is upset with his role in Dallas compared to Doncic’s star-power. With Porzingis’ trade value declining, and no first-round picks to leverage with his large contract, a trade seems like a very delicate situation at the moment. Things appear to be spiraling downwards for the Mavs after this deal initially looked like a slam dunk.

For The Knicks: Not Too Bad

The Knicks were once again a laughingstock after striking out on Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant on July 1. Even more embarrassing was the fact that the duo chose the Brooklyn Nets over Madison Square Garden, with former Knick Deandre Jordan crossing the Brooklyn Bridge to team up with the All-NBA pair. The Knicks actually did, however, make some good transactions with their newfound cap space. The 1-year deal for Marcus Morris paid off in pretty short order, as they picked up a first-round pick from the Clippers which ended up as rookie sensation Immanuel Quickley. Reggie Bullock had some staying power and even played valuable minutes in the playoffs for New York. The “big fish” for the Knicks was Julius Randle, who earned the NBA’s 2021 Most Improved Player award. While question marks have been raised about an extension for Randle, especially after an underwhelming performance against the Atlanta Hawks, it is certainly a success that the Knicks had another all-star forward fall into their laps in the place of Porzingis. Dennis Smith panned out into pretty much nothing, but he was used in reacquiring Derrick Rose, who has had a renaissance with the Knicks after his frustrating season in New York back in 2016-2017. Furthermore, the two first-round picks from the Mavericks give Leon Rose some valuable ammunition to go and acquire more stars, with many rumors circulating after the Knicks announced themselves as a destination franchise once again. Many fans, including myself, were embarrassed and even depressed after the old regime sent big Kristaps out of town, but the tables appear to have turned two years later.

Kristaps Porzingis initially looked like a star in the making at Madison Square Garden. His incredible two-way ability excited many before his ACL injury in 2018. Since that point, he has never looked the same and is now possibly on his way out of Texas. After getting clowned by the media for months it now looks like New York got a decent deal out of the trade after all. A new all-star, an exciting rookie, some first-round picks, a fan-favorite veteran, and most importantly for Knicks fans: hope.

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