Mac Engel

Dallas Mavericks stole Porzingis from the Knicks and stuck them with Dennis Smith Jr.

Not that the New York Knicks needed another reason to hate themselves, but the early returns on their trade of Kristaps Porzingis should keep management in therapy for the entire season.

The Mavs stole Zingis from New York and stuck the Knicks with a dud.

To acquire Zingis, the Dallas Mavericks gave the New York Knicks everything it could find, including the prized piece the team was happy to exchange to complete a trade of this scale.

When the Mavs made the deal with New York in February they sent two future first-round picks, center DeAndre Jordan, guard Wes Matthews and, the most attractive element, second-year point guard Dennis Smith Jr.

They may have been a bit more willing to dump DSJ than the general public realized.

There were signs last season that the relationship between the Mavs and their 2017 lottery pick was strained, but watching what has happened with DSJ thus far with the Knicks is embarrassing for the player.

Smith has appeared in three games this season for the Knicks, and averages one point and one assist per game. This should not happen.

He is not expected to be with the Knicks when they play the Mavs on Friday night in Dallas. Smith’s stepmother reportedly died on Sunday. He will likely be back when the Mavs play the Knicks in New York on Nov. 14.

Even before the passing of Smith’s stepmom, he has been a zero this season.

Knicks coach David Fizdale has essentially buried Smith on the bench and turned to Elfrid Payton instead.

Smith has played a total of 26 minutes. He is 1-for-11 from the floor. For the season.

He was booed at home during the Knicks’ home opener. New York is not an ideal location for a young player who is struggling. New York has disheartened the talented and the strong. NYC can crush the young.

Smith is young, talented, but the strength part is the unknown. He averaged 15.2 points and 5.2 assists three years ago when he was named to the NBA’s All-Rookie team.

There were some signs last season, however, that some gears were grinding with the rest of the Mavericks in his development as a pro.

His relationship with coach Rick Carlisle, who is notoriously hard on point guards, had its moments. The same for some of the veterans who wanted more out of Smith.

He had a tendency to not exactly “bring it” at all times, and there were multiple moments when he didn’t know where he was supposed to be, or what to do with the ball after he turned the corner on a defender.

Those are not atypical young-player pains. He had not evolved beyond the young player whose deficiencies were easily covered by his athleticism and talent. At some point, however, you’ve got to know what to do.

He needed to figure it out, and he wasn’t.

After the trade to the Knicks, DSJ’s scoring increased by nearly 2 points per game, but this deal has been a disaster both in what New York gave away and what it received in return.

DeAndre Jordan signed with the Nets in the off-season, and Matthews left to agree to a free agent deal with the Milwaukee Bucks.

Zingis has come back from the torn ACL and been the second scorer needed behind Luka Doncic. Z averages 19 points, 8.1 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game for the Mavs, who are 5-2.

Right now, the Knicks acquired Dennis Smith Jr. in exchange for Kristaps Porzingis.

Such a move necessitates a few drinks, and extended counseling.

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Mac Engel is an award-winning columnist who has extensive experience covering Fort Worth-Dallas area sports for 20 years. He has covered high schools, colleges, all four major sports teams as well as Olympic games and the world of entertainment, too. He combines dry wit with first-person reporting to complement a head of hair that is almost unfair.
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