At the 11th hour of this year’s NBA trade deadline, the Wizards called in a unicorn. Kristaps Porzingis arrived in D.C. last week in exchange for point guard Spencer Dinwiddie and Porzingis’ countryman, forward Davis Bertans.
As it turns out, the two Latvian hoopers got in contact with each other after they found out they were traded for each other and have plans to continue that phone dialogue in the future.
“We got on the phone right away [after the trade],” Porzingis told NBCSW's Chris Miller in a recent episode of And One. “It was kinda, for both of us, we were like ‘Oh, s***, what happened?’”
Porzingis went on to say that he was ‘extremely excited’ when he received the news he had been traded to D.C., and that he can’t wait to hit the hardwood with his new teammates. There is a chance his first action in a Wizards uniform will be the team’s first game back from the All-Star break against the San Antonio Spurs, as he continues to deal with a bone bruise.
While rumors had circulated about Bertans and Dinwiddie potentially being traded, Porzingis’ status on the Dallas Mavericks was rarely thrown into question before the deadline. Now, the 26-year-old lands on his third NBA team after being drafted fourth overall in 2015 by the Knicks.
“We’ve been so busy since the news came out that we said we were gonna get on the phone once everything kinda settles down a bit,” Porzingis said. “We’ll help each other get to know the city and the organization and things like that, so we’ll definitely be in contact.”
Bertans and Dinwiddie land on a Mavericks roster that's gearing up for another playoff run. Bertans seems to really enjoy his new environment, as he scored more points in his first-ever game in Dallas than he did the entire last month he was a Wizard.
One thing that might help Porzingis get acquainted with the nation’s capital is its international flair, both in the city itself and on Washington’s roster. Five Wizards players were born outside the U.S., everywhere from Brazil to France to Latvia.
“[This team] is very international, as is the city also,” Porzingis said. “I think us being from all over the world kind of represents the city in the right way. I look forward to getting to know everybody as quickly as possible and getting a feel for everybody, on and off the court.”
Washington brought Porzingis aboard with hopes that he can once again reach his ceiling: a dominant, 7-foot-3 rim protector who can shoot threes effectively and provide added depth down low. The prospect of pairing with the likes of Bradley Beal (next season) and Kyle Kuzma should make for a fascinating starting five when the time comes in D.C.