Trading for the Better

Kristaps Porzingis is the new show in town as he was traded from the New York Knicks on January 31 along with Trey Burke and Courtney Lee (not pictured).

From 2011 to 2018, the Dallas Mavericks were simply trending downward.

They had just the won the NBA Championship. Mark Cuban didn’t want to pay several players in order to get better ones. Constant roster-shuffling and missing out on big fish in free agency as well as ones that didn’t work out was the norm.

Then in 2017, the Mavs had a poor record and a high lottery pick in the NBA Draft at №9, getting Dennis Smith Jr. Dallas was horrible his rookie year as they got the №5 pick in 2018.

But then the Mavs had their eyes on one guy: Luka Doncic. So they traded to №3 and got him. He’s arguably one of the best teenagers to ever play in the NBA and the real future of the Mavericks as Smith wasn’t doing as good as expected a year-and-a-half into his professional career. Plus, the team didn’t play well with him and Doncic on the court together. So they traded him.

On January 31, the Mavs made a blockbuster trade by sending Smith, DeAndre Jordan, Wesley Matthews and two future first-round picks to the New York Knicks for All-Star Kristaps Prozingis, Tim Hardaway Jr., Trey Burke and Courtney Lee.

Then the next week on February 6 in the middle of a game, Dallas traded Harrison Barnes to the Sacramento Kings for Justin Jackson and Zach Randolph, who the Mavs waived. Barnes was subbed out in the fourth quarter once the news hit and never returned in the game against his future team.

Porzingis wanted out of New York and Smith was rumored to have wanted to be traded too, so that worked well.

This is building a second block with a guy who’s already proven in the NBA. Porzingis, a 7'3" power forward/center from Latavia (another European), is just 23 years old. Last year, he made the All-Star Game, averaging 22.7 points per game, 6.6 rebounds and 2.4 blocks. He can shoot, drive and defend anywhere as he has the potential to be a superstar, a little more like Mavs legend Dirk Nowitzki.

The only problem is his health. A year ago, he tore his left ACL and for someone his size, it can be a problem. Recently, he came back to practicing, but the Mavs just don’t want to rush him back, so he won’t play the rest of the season.

People are saying Doncic and Porzingis could be like Steve Nash and Dirk Nowitzki from back in the day. It’s so funny that the white guys (assuming Porzingis does) always work out for the Mavs when you include Jason Kidd in the championship run. It’s like they’re the Euro destination with Nowitzki, Doncic and Maxi Kleber, a role player.

As far as the other role players, Hardway is a guy who can shoot, score and defend. With Porzingis out this season, he led the dreadful Knicks in scoring with 17 points a game. Burke and Jackson can become role players while Lee is a fringe player but could be helpful.

When you look at the players they gave up, it should be worth it. It’s hard to see Smith go as he was hyped up as part of the future, but as talented as he is, he commits costly turnovers and isn’t the most coachable guy. Jordan was on a one-year deal and is a great center, but besides rebounding and dunking, he’s not a rim-protector. Still hard to give up though.

Matthews, who was waived and picked up by the Indiana Pacers, wasn’t quite as good as people thought he would be as a three-and-D guy (three-point shooting and defense).

Barnes is hard to let go of. As Nowitzki said he’s a better man than him when it comes to all he’s done for the community and who he is as a person. There was a lot of hope with him coming to Dallas three years ago. He was the team’s leading scorer the previous two seasons. You just have to make cap space as he was making $24 million per year and not quite living up to it.

Dallas is going to have some cap space this summer and will be looking to sign some free agents. (Porzingis is likely to stay.) There should be less disappointment in who they get as this team is trending upward with a younger set of stars unlike the aging Nowitzki they were selling in previous tries.

So, essentially the Mavericks traded away the rest of their starting lineup for the team to be built around Doncic, who’s gotten even better the last time I blogged about him. He’s just that good. You wonder if he’ll be winning MVPs and become a future Hall of Famer. All people can say is: the future is bright in Dallas.

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I love Jesus, dancing and in this blog, sports.

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Austin McNabb

Austin McNabb

I love Jesus, dancing and in this blog, sports.

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