Report: Knicks trading Kristaps Porzingis to Mavericks, opening projected $73M in cap space next summer
The Knicks are closing an unhappy Kristaps Porzingis era and opening the door to a tantalizing unknown that could include Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving or maybe even both.
Marc Stein of The New York Times:
The Dallas Mavericks are nearing a trade to acquire Kristaps Porzingis from the New York Knicks, according to league sources— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) January 31, 2019
The Mavericks have agreed to take on the contracts of Tim Hardaway Jr. and Courtney Lee to faciliate a Porzingis trade and are working to complete the transaction today, league sources say— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) January 31, 2019
The Knicks would receive Dennis Smith Jr. and the expiring contracts of DeAndre Jordan and Wes Matthews in the proposed trade, according to league sources— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) January 31, 2019
The Knicks would also receive future first-round draft compensation from the Mavericks and, by shedding the contracts of Hardaway and Lee, create the salary-cap space this summer to pursue two maximum contract free agents— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) January 31, 2019
The Knicks unloading Tim Hardaway Jr. (due $37,125,000 over the next two years) and Courtney Lee (due $12,759,670 next season) is huge. New York now projects to have about $73 million in cap space this summer – enough for two max slots, depending on the players’ experience level. The possibility of landing star free agents like Durant and Irving is electrifying.
So is the Luka Doncic-Kristaps Porzingis pairing the Mavericks just formed. Those two budding stars give Dallas a more certain pathway upward. That is such a fun young core.
The Knicks’ future is far more unknown. They’re left with Dennis Smith Jr. (who maybe should have been in New York all along), Kevin Knox, Frank Ntilikina and all that cap space. Capitalizing on that cap room is essential to justifying losing a young star like Porzingis. But cap spaces goes further in New York. This is a more-logical risk there.
In the meantime, DeAndre Jordan and Wesley Matthews have little use on the tanking Knicks. Those two veterans could get flipped to winners before the deadline or, failing that, bought out. If it looks as if they’ll get bought out, that could stall trade talks across the league. It did not seem players so productive would be available post-buyout this season, and teams would generally prefer those direct signings to surrendering assets in a trade.