It was reported by multiple outlets that Kristaps Porzingis had a meeting with the Knicks on Thursday afternoon that left the team under the impression the injured star wanted to be traded. Blink, and Porzingis is a member of the Mavericks.
Here are the official details of the trade, first reported by Marc Stein of the New York Times:
Dallas receives: Kristaps Porzingis, Tim Hardaway Jr., Trey Burke and Courtney Lee.
New York receives: Dennis Smith Jr., DeAndre Jordan, Wesley Matthews and two future first-round picks.
WHAT THE TRADE MEANS FOR THE KNICKS RIGHT NOWWell, aside from the Knicks looking very sketchy for trading away what was recently considered one of the top assets in the NBA for pennies on the dollar, we’re going to see a completely different Knicks team on the floor as soon as these new players pass their physicals.
KP was likely never going to play again this season while recovering from a torn ACL, so the rotation was only going to continue playing veterans less minutes and tanking with the young talent that is healthy. New York now adds another young point guard into the mix, along with a couple of veterans on expiring contracts.
Jordan and Matthews are going to find themselves in interesting situations in New York. The motive is clear — tank for a high pick in the draft — and neither veteran helps the Knicks achieve that. Enes Kanter has already been riding the bench, and we could see an unhappy Jordan and Matthews join him. If either player does wind up in the rotation, it’s tough to predict their fantasy value. Both vets are in contract seasons, so there’s motivation for them to perform. At the same time, neither will be thrilled with their new situation or role. DJ and Matthews both also become buyout candidates, so stay tuned for them to be on the move again.
Unless Jordan becomes New York’s starting center, we really won’t see much of a change in the landscape of the frontcourt, outside of potentially one name.
The backcourt, however, undergoes a major overhaul. Hardaway had been the Knicks’ top scorer this season at 19.1 points, also leading the team by a long shot at 32.6 minutes per game. THJ’s role in the trade leaves a pretty large void to be filled. Burke had been a solid contributor as well, averaging 11.8 points in 20.9 minutes. So how will the Knicks fill those 30 points and over 50 minutes?
DSJ — a player Knicks’ fans have longed for since they passed on him in the draft — is the type of player who can help fill that void left by THJ. Smith’s averaging 25.6 DKFP in 28.1 minutes this season, and is fresh off a 50-DKFP triple-double the night before the trade against his new team.
With Hardaway and Porzingis out, the Knicks are Smith’s team for the rest of the season. Expect him to immediately become the Knicks’ starting PG and see a huge boost in fantasy value. Emmanuel Mudiay and Frank Ntilikina will likely take a backseat to DSJ when they’re able to return from injuries.
The other Knicks player this trade should benefit is Kevin Knox. The rookie has shown a lot of promise at times during his rookie season, and should see more scoring opportunities with Hardaway gone. Knox had been averaging 12.3 points in 27.3 minutes prior to the trade, so expect both numbers to be on the rise.
WHAT THE TRADE MEANS FOR THE KNICKS’ FUTUREThe Knicks are all in on free agency. Jordan, Kanter and Matthews off the books allows New York to offer two max contracts during the 2019 offseason. This will be Plan A. Of course, things never seem to go to plan for the Knicks. Plan B will be working around this new young core. DSJ and Knox have value, and the Knicks will have to cross their fingers and hope to win the Zion Williamson sweepstakes. Some names the Knicks could target include: Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard and Jimmy Butler.
WHAT THE TRADE MEANS FOR THE MAVERICKS RIGHT NOWAssuming Porzingis isn’t actually healthy and ready to play yet, the Mavericks are going to be working with an extremely thin rotation right away. Matthews had been averaging 13.1 points in 29.8 minutes this season, while Smith was posting 12.9 points in 28.4 minutes.
Hardaway will likely come in and immediately fill Matthews’ role. But with more talent around him in Dallas, his overall fantasy production likely takes a slight dip. Hardaway should get his 30 minutes per game, maybe even more at first, but playing alongside Luka Doncic, his usage just can’t be maintained.
Without Smith in the picture, Burke will have to see some minutes in the backcourt by default. With J.J. Barea shutdown for the season, Jalen Brunson and Devin Harris are the only other PG options on the roster. Doncic will almost certainly become the primary ball-handler for the majority of the game.
It remains to be seen if KP will see the floor this season, but until he does, Dallas’ frontcourt is in shambles. With Jordan’s 31.1 minutes, 11.0 points, 13.7 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.1 blocks gone, the Mavs have nobody to plug into their center spot until Porzingis plays. Until then, we’re going to see monster increases in value for the likes of Dwight Powell, Maxi Kleber, and maybe even Salah Mejri. Powell and Kleber average a combined 35.1 minutes per game, along with 14.6 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.8 blocks (32.5 DKFP). Both of these guys become immediate candidates to play 12-15 extra minutes per game, making them elite DFS values until their salaries catch up to their production. Both should have plenty of games where they produce double the fantasy output we’re accustomed to.
The biggest winner here (at least in the short-term) has to be Doncic. The rookie is already playing like a super star, averaging 40 DKFP to begin his career. Even with the addition of Hardaway’s scoring, Doncic’s usage should go through the roof. Doncic’s hottest stretch of the season came with DSJ away from the team, leaving Luka in position to closeout his ROY campaign even stronger than we were expecting. We should see Doncic end the season somewhere between $9,000-10,000 in salary.
WHAT THE TRADE MEANS FOR THE MAVERICKS’ FUTUREWhat a steal for the Mavericks. The obvious question we all have — how long will Porzingis be with the Mavericks? He becomes a restricted free agent this summer, and conflicting reports have KP agreeing to a qualifying offer to keep him in Dallas until 2020 and exploring his options in 2019. Either way, it’ll be exciting to see if Porzingis gets on the floor this season and gives us a taste of what type of chemistry he can build with Doncic. If he doesn’t play this season, but does agree to a qualifying offer to stay with Dallas for a year, we’ll get a full season of the Luka/KP duo, and see what kind of damage they can do in the West.
And if you’re thinking of the Mavericks’ future odds for this season, the DraftKings Sportsbook has them sitting at 14:1 to win the Southwest Division. They currently sit at 23-27, which is a game ahead of the Pelicans and four games ahead of the Grizzlies, but also six games behind the Rockets and Spurs. It’s tough to see them overcoming that gap this season, but if Porzingis returns, just maybe they can make a run at the postseason, which they currently sit 4.5 games back from.
*DKFP = DraftKings Fantasy Points
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