SACRAMENTO -- NBA trade season is not for the faint of heart. New York Knicks fans were hit with a right cross Thursday afternoon, when rumors of a potential Kristaps Porzingis trade began circulating.
A deal materialized and was finished before the good folks in New York had a chance to collect their thoughts.
The 23-year-old center is on his way to Dallas, where he’ll join rookie phenom Luka Doncic. Porzingis hasn’t played a minute this season after tearing the ACL in his left knee in early February of last year.
The trade is likely to have a ripple effect around the league. Dallas took on the contracts of Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Courtney Lee in the deal.
Porzingis is in the final year of his rookie-scale contract. He is a restricted free agent after the season, but according to The Athletic's Shams Charania, Porzingis is considering accepting a qualifying offer this summer and entering free agency in the summer of 2020 when he would be unrestricted.
In addition to a pair of first-round selections, the Knicks received Dennis Smith Jr. and the expiring contracts of DeAndre Jordan and Wes Matthews.
While the Kings were not directly involved in the transaction, there are a few ways in which they may be affected by the deal.
Wins and Losses
The long-term effects of this transaction will take time to work out. In the meantime, both teams are expected to take a step backwards, which bodes well for the Kings.
Sacramento faces New York twice in the span of five days in early March. While nothing is ever a guarantee, the Knicks should be in full tank mode at that point.
In late March, there is another five-day window where the Kings and Mavs play twice. Dallas gave up two starters in the transaction, and there’s a good chance Porzingis doesn’t return to action this season.
Like the Knicks, Dallas has an incentive to lose. They owe the Atlanta Hawks a 2019 top-five protected pick. They may have just thrown in the towel on this season, with the hopes of adding another top talent through this summer's draft.
When you have playoff aspirations, every win counts.
Teams on the Rise
This trade was a massive gamble that might pay off big time for the Mavericks. Porzingis is a talent who could help jump-start their rebuild.
Nothing is a sure bet, but Porzingis and Doncic could become a deadly tandem. In a race to return to relevance, the Mavericks are taking a stab in the dark with a one-year rental on an injured player. If it pays off, they might leapfrog a few teams, including the Kings.
If Porzingis doesn’t like his surroundings in Dallas and chooses to leave in the summer of 2020, the Mavs might be in trouble. They’ve committed either a 2019 or 2020 first-round pick to acquire Doncic. Now, they are on the hook for two more picks, either in 2021 and 2023 or in 2022 and 2024.
Dallas took on Hardaway and Lee in the deal. Hardaway is due $18.1 million next season, with a player option at $19 million for 2020-21. Lee is also under contract next season at $12.8 million.
The Mavericks already have Harrison Barnes under contract this season at $24.1 million with a player option next year at $25.1 million.
With extra bodies on the roster, the Mavericks might be inclined to trade one of these players. Both Hardaway and Barnes have played the small forward position in the past, and could give the Kings a scoring option at the three.