The New York Knicks have sent All-Star Forward Kristaps Porzingis to the Dallas Mavericks for guard Dennis Smith Jr. and 2 first-round draft picks. Also making the move to the Big Apple will be Wesley Matthews and DeAndre Jordan, though one or both of them are likely to have their contracts bought out. Trey Burke, Courtney Lee, and Tim Hardaway Jr. round out the package en route to Dallas.
The Mavericks will hope to resign The Unicorn to a long term deal this summer when he becomes an unrestricted free agent. He’ll be eligible for a much larger contract by being traded now than if the Knicks had waited until this summer. It has been reported in the past that Porzingis expressed desire to play with Luka Doncic after meeting him this summer in Madrid while rehabbing his ACL.
The Knicks are acquiring a promising young guard in Dennis Smith Jr., but what they were really after was the cap space. By making this deal, the Knicks have freed up two max salary spots heading in this coming off season to throw at one of the deepest free agent classes the NBA has seen in a while. It is expected their main target will be Kevin Durant, who has previously expressed interest in playing in New York. Other notable targets will be Kyrie Irving, Klay Thompson, and Kawhi Leonard. This move does take New York out of the Anthony Davis sweepstakes, but it is being reported that they already reached out to the Pelicans who were not interested in the 7-foot-3 forward from Latvia, who was the Knicks biggest trade asset.
It has also been reported that Kristaps may have asked for the trade himself. In an ideal world for the Knicks, they would have hung onto their young star and brought the free agents in to play with him. It was the contracts of Haradway Jr., Lee, and Burke that were the real cap hits, not Porzingis still playing on his rookie deal.
We will see how this effects the NBA landscape this summer.
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