The Dallas Mavericks reached a blockbuster trade with the New York Knicks on Thursday, centering on the Mavs sending Dennis Smith Jr. to the Knicks and landing standout big man Kristaps Porzingis from New York.
The deal was first reported by Marc Stein of the New York Times, and the Knicks made the trade official with a news release.
Along with Porzinigis, the Mavs are taking on the contracts of Tim Hardaway Jr., Trey Burke and Courtney Lee. Along with Smith Jr., the Knicks would also receive the expiring contracts of DeAndre Jordan and Wes Matthews, as well as two future first-round picks.
Smith Jr. has been rumored to be on the trading block for a few weeks. The 2017 first-round pick missed several games with “sickness” earlier this month, but has returned. He posted a triple-double with 13 points, 15 assists and 10 rebounds in the Mavs’ victory over the Knicks on Wednesday.
Porzingis has been sidelined this season with an ACL injury, and recently asked the Knicks to be traded.
This is a significant development for the Mavs’ future. Porzingis will be a restricted free agent after this season, meaning the Mavs would have the option to match any offer he received on the open market.
Plus, it gives the Mavs a young, proven big man for the future. At 23, Porzingis still hasn’t reached his prime and would pair well with rookie sensation Luka Doncic for the foreseeable future.
Porzingis, the fourth overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft who is from Latvia, grew up idolizing Mavs star Dirk Nowitzki and could view the organization as a long-term home.
In his first three seasons in the league, Porzingis started 185 of 186 games played, averaging 17.8 points, 7.1 rebounds and two blocks. His points per game total has increased each season, including a career-high 22.7 points in his All-Star season last year.
Smith, meanwhile, had a promising rookie season with the Mavs. He started all 69 games he played, averaging 15.2 points and 5.2 assists in 2017-18. This season, though, saw his average per game drop in both points (12.9) and assists (4.3).