The New York Knicks made a stunning move Thursday, sending injured All-Star big man Kristaps Porzingis to the Dallas Mavericks for DeAndre Jordan, Wes Matthews and Dennis Smith Jr.
On paper, the trade looks like an absolute win for the Mavericks. They acquired one of the league’s most exciting and unique young talents for players who either didn’t fit the “build around Luka” mold or were on expiring contracts. But amid the epic (and deserved) roasting of the Knicks, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported a potential curveball to the proceedings.
This really does change things … for both parties.
According to Charania, Porzingis will inform the Mavericks of his plans to sign a qualifying offer this offseason as a restricted free agent.
There are two ways to look at this: The first being that Porzingis is receiving poor financial advice from his agent who happens to be his brother Janis Porzings.
Had Porzingis fielded offers from other teams this summer, he’d be looking at a major pay day, forcing the Mavericks to either match an offer sheet or lose Porzingis entirely. In all likelihood, Mark Cuban and the Mavs would have been willing to match any offer sheet to keep Porzingis in Dallas longterm. So, really, he’s electing to play in Dallas under a one-year deal worth $4,485,665 and control his destiny as an unrestricted free agent the following offseason.
Coming off a major injury, this is a huge “bet on yourself” move from Porzingis.
The other way to look at this is from the Mavericks perspective.
If Porzingis were to sign the qualifying offer, he’d have that binding one-year deal in 2019-20 and then he’d be an unrestricted free agent in the 2020 offseason. This puts pressure on the Mavericks to make Porzingis happy in the one full season they’ll have of him under contract or risk losing Porzingis in free agency.
The pairing of Porzingis and Doncic has the potential to be a ton of fun, but we saw how frustrated Porzingis grew with the Knicks. He wants to win, and the pressure will be on Dallas to be a serious contender in 2019 or else Porzingis could walk. They’ll have the cap space to make that happen. Still, this move adds urgency to the process.
Signing the qualifying offer was a turn that few would have expected when the trade was initially reported.
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Quite the curveball.