Almost since Kristaps Porzingis was traded to the Mavericks — and certainly after he was exposed by the Clippers last playoffs — some Mavericks fans have been trying to come up with Porzingis trades. Maybe to Indiana in a Myles Turner deal, or Sacramento for a package based around Buddy Hield, but somewhere.
Porzingis himself reportedly wanted to be traded after last season, and it was the coaching change that made him decide not to push his way out of town.
The one Mavericks fan who has never wanted to trade Porzingis is the one voice that matters: Mark Cuban.
Cuban has long believed Porzingis can be the dominant pick-and-roll force and the No. 2 option next to Luka Doncic on the Mavericks, even if he has not played up to that level yet. When Mark Medina of NBA.com mentioned Porzingis trade rumors to Cuban, the Dallas owner was unequivocal that the talks never happened.
“That’s not true. Why would I do that at all?” Mavs owner Mark Cuban told NBA.com. “Trades like that, you always end up further behind. When you trade a superstar, you never get the best end of it…
“I’ve always believed that KP hasn’t played his best basketball yet. Now you’re seeing why we didn’t trade him,” Cuban said. “He’s a great player. He’s a good dude. All of my experiences with him have been positive. So why would we do that? But that’s NBA Twitter and that’s Mavs Twitter. That’s what they do. They’re probably trying to trade Luka right now.”
Porzingis has been playing his best ball as a Maverick this season, averaging 20.3 points and 8.3 rebounds a game. Porzingis credits coach Jason Kidd for putting him in more familiar positions, allowing him to succeed.
“This coaching staff and how they see me out there on the court, it fits more to what I have in mind,” Porzingis said. “It’s in everybody’s interest to bring the best out of me.”
The argument for trading Prozingis — before the February trade deadline — is to strike while the iron is hot. Porzingis is playing well and his trade value may never be higher. However, Cuban is right, trade Porzingis and the Mavericks will not get as much in return as they give up (whatever you think of Porzingis). Especially considering KP is still owed $101.5 million, with two guaranteed seasons after this one (the last one a player option). Trade Porzingis and Dallas will have to take a worse contract back.
For now, Dallas is going to ride this out, hope to get Doncic back — they have gone 0-3 without him as he recovers from a left knee and ankle injuries — and bet Porzingis can be the All-Star they need next to Doncic. Even if Cuban has a change of heart/realizes KP is not that guy, he can’t really make a change until next offseason, anyway.