Trade Speculations And Scenarios – Seems Like Porzingis Wants the Hell Out Of Dallas

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Updated: June 15, 2021
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The Situation

Luka and the Mavs fell one victory short in a 7-game dogfight against Kawhi and the Clippers. After a heartbreaking loss in Los Angeles, Porzingis took the opportunity in the post-game press conference to express his discontent with his role next to such a ball-dominant guard. KP has already been linked in trade talks prior to these comments after the early post-season exit, but now with this event, it seems almost inevitable that he is moved in the off-season. Unfortunately, for Dallas, the 101 million owed to Kristaps over the next three years is beyond problematic if a team is expecting max-level production. The lanky, 7’3 unicorn has been constantly sidelined with lower-body injuries since trade from the Big Apple to the blue and white in Texas. All the defensive potential that many had hoped to develop from what they had seen early in his career with New York not only has not come to fruition but has regressed. His lack of presence in the post on the offensive end of the floor has required head coach Rick Carlisle to defend him in press conferences on multiple occasions this season and has decided to use the once referred Unicorn, as a giant spot-up shooting big. On top of all these on-court red flags, New York’s willingness to part with him for what at the time seemed like an empty basket of assets, along with KP’s inability to mesh well in Dallas may indicates that he may be developing into a  potential problem off the court as well.

Even when discussed on the Lowe-Post, a place where irrational and unrealistic trades are frequently thrown around the pod, they could come up with zero beneficial trades for the Mavericks outside of a straight-up swap for Kemba. A trade Lowe and Bobby Marks referred to as “depressing for both sides.”

The Solution

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{The trade is centered around a sign and trade of Kelly Oubre with a contract of at least 21 million}.

      It is hard to imagine many teams lining up to pay the player just described 32 million next year and give up assets to have the honor of doing so. However, there is a man who may consider picking up the tab, and that is billionaire and owner of the Golden State Warriors, Joe Lacob. The Steph Curry MVP caliber season has proven that their title window is still open if the right pieces are placed around him. With Klay scheduled to come back next year to the starting lineup, it has already been stated on wax by head coach Steve Kerr, that in that event, Kelly Oubre would be coming off the bench. It is a difficult ask from ownership to spend 20 million per year for a 6th man when with the tax added on, the cost of the signing would be north of 80 million each year. For that type of price tag, the tiny billionaire ideally would be looking for more upside and pop. Kristaps Porzingis may be exactly that.

      Now with all the red flags and problems with the maxed out Latvian stretch 4, why would Golden State be willing to pick up the tab of 101 million from Dallas? It is the same reason why Wiggins isn’t on the trade-block and making 31 million next season. Next to the Splash Brothers, they don’t need Kristaps or Wiggins to be max-level talents but high-end role players. If they were top 20 caliber stars of this league as their yearly salaries indicate they should be, the Warriors would have never been able to acquire them, and it is their obscene contracts that have made them available.

      Wiggins aside, the on court fit for Kristaps in a Warriors’ uniform is a perfect match on the offensive end of the floor. A pure stroke not only from the corner but from 25 feet from the basket, Porzingis shooting at the 5 would help negate the floor spacing issues Draymond creates at the 4. Kristaps would be projected to shoot a career high from behind the arc with multiple wide open 3’s a game created by the Steph and Klay gravitational pull. Unlike all other teams acquiring Porzingis, the Warriors would not need to lean on KP for heavy minutes of production as his floor time would be shared with developing sophomore Wisemen and Steve Kerr’s favorite athletically challenged big in Kevon Looney. By keeping Porzingis minutes south of 25 minutes per game, the bet on the Unicorn’s health becomes a more favorable one.

      Off the court, the Dubs have the strong reputation to take colorful personalities and somehow turn a sour apple into a sweet one. It seems playing next to Steph is inherently a mood-raiser for teammates. With the ridiculously wide-open shots, Curry’s off-ball movement provides, it is not hard to imagine KP being stoked to see the Twitter feed blowing up with his photoshopped pics in a Warriors’ uniform.

      The biggest concern outside of the health would be KP’s defensive limitations, especially in a closing lineup. Since his injuries which began in New York, his lateral movement and willingness to be a presence at the rim have been limited, to say the least. But despite the physical limitations, it was effort that may have been the biggest downfall for Kristaps on defense. One would hope that once placed next to the ex-defense player of the year, and a lighter load of minutes, KP would find himself more motivated than he was on a Mavericks’ team that ranked 25th out of 30 teams.

      This pickup also should solidify the 4 bigs for the Warriors rotation in Draymond, KP, Looney, and Wisemen, deepening their depth at most positions. As stated earlier, with Klay’s return, not only would Oubre be out of the starting lineups, but down the stretch of the year, the Warriors looked stronger with small-forward Kent Bazemore in the starting position in place of Oubre. Although an erratic player at times, as a backup wing, Bazemore is ideal if they are able to retain him near a vet-min salary. Also, in this scenario, they would retain their Minnesota pick, and with the center position filled, and backup point guard position now clearly taken by blossoming scorer Jordan Poole, the Warriors would take the best forward available that falls to them in the draft. If they were to get a small forward and Oubre was to stay on the roster, this high-end prospect’s space to develop as a scorer would be diminished. In this scenario, however, with Oubre moved for KP, the talented rookie would instead be featured in the non-Curry minutes next to Poole and Wisemen.

      Even in a worst-case scenario of a Porzingis injury, with Looney as their 3rd option at center position and Juan Toscana Anderson and Eric Pascall to fill in at the 4, the depth should be able to withstand the blow. Ideally down the road, if the Golden State were to retain young James Wisemen, is that with the pressure diffused off his shoulders, he would develop against second units. In 3 years, with the expiration of the KP max contract, Wisemen would replace that max slot as an all-star level center.

The Dallas Mavericks

          With the recent comments from Kristaps in the early exit of the playoffs, it seems, at least from the outside looking in that moving off Porzingis is a necessity both Porzingis and dallas. However, as already detailed, it is unlikely they would be able to get equal value for what they originally sent away when he was acquired from New York, and if they wanted a better player, they would be the ones attaching draft picks to his 32-million-dollar contract. This may be the one scenario where instead; they are gifted a lottery pick projected at 14 in this loaded draft from the Warriors in exchange for taking the gamble on Oubre’s 4-year 80+ million-dollar contract.

           Recent reports around the league have indicated that there are interests in Oubre by the Heat, Spurs, and Knicks. As an unrestricted free agent, in order to have Oubre agree to a sign and trade, he would need to be promised a starting position along with a contract which at least matches the offers from Miami, San Antonio, and New York. However, as good as Hardaway Jr. has looked next to Luka, Oubre’s agent would be foolish not to push for Kelly to play next to the presumed future MVP Luka Dončić.

      They not only get the pick and a versatile strong on-ball defending wing, but by replacing the KP contract, the Luka-driven Mavericks can better use their enormous amount of cap space. With an abundance of salary to spend and the Luka clout as an elite playmaker, they should be able to fill the center position with win-now veterans or cheap deals and spend their max slot on a strong 2nd option next to Dončić. With the pick and the added minimum contracts from the Warriors, it creates even more flexibility. Mulder and Lee as snipers off the bench hopefully would be able to replace some of what was lost in the Seth Curry/Josh Richardson trade and maximize these shooters off the ball next to Luka.

      If Kristaps was at the very least a fit in the locker room, it would probably be best just to retain him, even with his high annual cost. However, unless they are able to attach their picks and find not only a new home for KP but a franchise who is willing to send a better talent in the process, this may be the only way out of his contract. In this scenario, they should be able to retain the blossoming Hardaway Jr. along with signing some serious talent this offseason.

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