It has been reported that the New York Knicks have pulled the trigger near the trade deadline. They sent forward/center Kristaps Porzingis to the Dallas Mavericks in a salary dump move. Porzingis is going to Dallas, along with Tim Hardaway Jr. and Courtney Lee. In exchange for these players, the Knicks will receive young point guard Dennis Smith Jr., veteran center DeAndre Jordan, and guard Wesley Matthews from the Mavericks.
Porzingis is averaging 22.7 points per game this season, making him the clear centerpiece of this trade. He was previously the centerpiece of the entire New York team before this trade. He is also pulling down 6.6 rebounds, a stat that highlights his status as a modern, scoring big man despite his 7’3 stature.
Hardaway is scoring 19.1 points per game this season and is also notching 3.5 rebounds and 2.7 assists each game. He has become more of a fixture on the Knicks’ roster, playing over 32 minutes each game as opposed to his career average of just under 26. Courtney Lee is playing just 13.3 minutes during each appearance (his career average is about 28) and is contributing only 4.7 points per outing.
While this trade is mainly a salary dump for the Knicks, they did acquire a quality player in Dennis Smith Jr. The 21-year-old has had high praise from LeBron James, and contributes about 13 points per game, playing just 28 minutes. He is a fairly efficient scorer, shooting nearly 44% over the season.
Jordan is scoring about 11 points on 64% shooting, playing about 31 minutes per game. He averages a double-double, however, pulling down a little under 14 rebounds each contest. He is a high-flying, back-to-basket center that is only under contract for the remainder of the season, and will likely not re-join the Knicks.
Matthews is in a similar boat to Jordan, as he is not a star, but is an efficient player in his own right. He is averaging 13.1 points. He is a potential buyout candidate, as the Rockets are interested in signing him should a buyout occur.
Sports bettors should be paying attention to this move for both the short-term and long-term ramifications. Porzingis, paired with Hardaway, Lee, and likely rookie of the year Luka Doncic immediately makes the Mavericks a force in the West. Look for them to be a good pick in nearly every game in the future, as they have the potential to score a lot of points against each lineup, with a dynamic scorer in the frontcourt and the backcourt.
For the Knicks, the tank is on. They already have the worst record in the NBA, and without the promise of Porzingis returning later in the season, they should have a pretty good grasp on the best odds for the ping poll ball to fall on them.