“Sniffed around” and “taking the temperature.” This is reportedly what the Dallas Mavericks have been doing to gauge the trade value of Kristaps Porzingis around the Association, as described by Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report. Dallas once entrusted Porzingis as a franchise cornerstone, extending him a risky $158 million maximum contract despite just coming off an ACL injury. Along with Luka Doncic, they envisioned the two European stars to banner the Mavs flag for the next decade.
With this report, it seems like the Doncic-Porzingis pairing could potentially come to an end. However, the Mavs should stay patient and see how the field plays out before making any rash decisions on a Kristaps Porzingis trade.
From Dallas’ standpoint, it’s easy to see why they are reassessing Porzingis as the Robin to Doncic’s Batman.
There’s no doubting the 7-foot-3 unicorn’s talents. At his best, Porzingis is an All-Star-caliber player. He certainly showcased that in the bubble in Orlando. In his six appearances during the remaining regular-season games, Porzingis looked like a legitimate superstar, averaging 30.5 points and 9.8 rebounds while shooting 47.6 percent from the field and 38.1 percent from beyond the arc. Before he went down with a torn meniscus in their first-round series against the Los Angeles Clippers, he continued to showcase the efficient shooting stroke, knocking down 52.9 percent of his 3-pointers in three games.
But despite these All-Star numbers, the injury concerns are real and the Mavs must take them seriously moving forward. It’s going to be hard to rely and invest on someone who always finds himself on the bench.
Aside from injury woes, there have also been concerns about Kristaps Porzingis’ defense. At 7-foot-3, he is indeed a capable shot blocker and rim protector. However, through the early goings of the 2020-21 season, Porzingis has struggled to keep in step with quicker guards and wings and teams are exploiting him. His defensive deficiencies have shown that Dallas is better off on that end with Porzingis on the bench.
Via Bleacher Report:
The Mavs have a minus-4.7 net rating when he’s on the floor.
In those 509 minutes, Dallas has allowed 119.5 points per 100 possessions, a mark that would leave the Mavericks nearly two full points worse than the 30th-ranked Sacramento Kings. When he’s been off the court, Dallas’ defense had surged to a stingy 108.7 rating in 840 minutes entering Monday, good for a top-five figure in the league.
Of course, Porzingis’ struggles on defense could be a result of the knee injury he just came back from. Perhaps in due time, he will regain his legs back underneath him and become a positive for them on that end of the floor.
But things aren’t looking great for Porzingis, with both the injury concerns and defensive woes. Right now, Porzingis’ value won’t be at the price Dallas wants it to be. The Mavs won’t get the kind of star return they would expect from a deal involving the former All-Star.
This is why Dallas should exercise patience in making any kind of decisions with regards to Kristaps Porzingis’ future with the franchise.