When the Dallas Mavericks acquired Kristaps Porzingis from the New York Knicks, many people thought they easily won the trade. New York had just surrendered their only NBA All-Star building block for Wesley Matthews, DeAndre Jordan, Dennis Smith Jr. and two future first round draft picks.
Fast forward to the present day and this trade is nowhere near as lopsided as people first imagined. New York is as well positioned as any team in the league to upgrade their roster thanks to ample cap space and extra picks courtesy of Dallas. The Mavericks, on the other hand, might already be looking to move on from Porzingis.
What Dallas imagined the pairing of Luka Doncic and Porzingis looking like has not yet come to fruition. He has continued to battle injuries and during the postseason against the LA Clippers he disappointed.
Porzingis has some shortcomings in his game, specifically his defense and ability to play in space. His contract will also be an obstacle to overcome as he is on the books through 2023 with a player option for the 2023-24 season.
However, he can still be a difference maker offensively and in the right situation defensively, as a rim protector, can succeed.
Which teams could take a shot on a former All-Star that is watching his value depreciate? Here are three perfect landing spots for The Unicorn this offseason.
The landscape of the Washington Wizards’ franchise will change drastically this offseason depending on if Bradley Beal signs a contract extension.
He does not sign, blowing things up and embracing a rebuild may happen. But, if he does commit long-term, the team needs to swing for the fences and make a run at it with the Beal/Russell Westbrook pairing and Kristaps Porzingis would represent that big move.
A trio of Beal, Westbrook and Porzingis could do some damage in the Eastern Conference. Washington hasn’t been a place many free agents have signed, but they could entice some veterans to join that trio.
Porzingis would give the Wizards a legitimate third option behind Westbrook and Beal while also shoring things up for them in the frontcourt. Porzingis would be an upgrade over Alex Len, who was the starting center for the Wizards in the postseason despite being picked up midseason after being released by the Toronto Raptors.
Why this is an ideal landing spot for Porzingis is that there would be no pressure on him. Westbrook is as polarizing a player as there is in the NBA and a lot of media attention is directed at him.
Beal, as the face of the franchise for so long, would also receive a lot of attention. As the third wheel, Porzingis would be able to hide in the background a little bit, which would do him some good.