The Kristaps Porzingis era in New York appears over.
The Knicks star met Thursday with management to express his concern over the team’s direction, and in the wake of the impression he left in that meeting things escalated so quickly that only hours later there were multiple reports that the Mavericks and Knicks were closing in on a deal that would bring Porzingis to Dallas.
The Knicks would receive Dennis Smith Jr. and the expiring contracts of DeAndre Jordan and Wes Matthews in the proposed trade, the New York Times reported, citing unidentified league sources and calling a deal “imminent.”
The Mavericks have agreed to take on the contracts of Tim Hardaway Jr. and Courtney Lee to faciliate a Porzingis trade and are working to complete the transaction today, league sources say— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) January 31, 2019
The Knicks also would receive future first-round draft compensation from Dallas and, by shedding Hardaway’s and Lee’s contracts could create the salary-cap space this summer to pursue two maximum contract free agents. The Athletic reported that Trey Burke was part of the deal.
17.8 – Through his first three years in the #NBA, Kristaps Porzingis has averaged 17.8 points per game, more than Dirk Nowitzki did in his first three years. Clone? pic.twitter.com/MW1rCtle1t— OptaLarry🏀 (@OptaLarry) January 31, 2019
According to earlier reports, the Knicks began exploring trades in the wake of Thursday’s meeting with Porzingis.
Kristaps Porzingis left the Knicks with the impression that he prefers to be traded, league sources tell @ramonashelburne and me. Knicks are expected to commence discussions on moving him ahead of next Thursday’s deadline.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 31, 2019
Porzingis is out with an ACL tear and it’s unclear if he will return this season. He’s expected to be re-evaluated in the next few weeks.
His name had been linked to Anthony Davis after the Pelicans star demanded a trade. The Knicks popped up in the trade rumors, with Porzingis being mentioned as a possible part of a package for Davis.
Before Thursday’s development that the team would trade him, Porzingis was trying to figure out his long-term role with a team that has been deeply dysfunctional. There had been increasing tension between Porzingis and the team, rooted in the Knicks’ ongoing struggles (at 10-40, they have the worst record in the league).
Porzingis wants to play for a winner in New York, but is searching for clarity on his future role with the team and Knicks direction. Porzingis — out with an ACL injury — can be a restricted free agent this summer. https://t.co/JtZzQ02FCI— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 31, 2019
Had he stayed in New York, Porzingis had few alternatives. He’s a restricted free-agent this summer, so he has the option of accepting a one-year qualifying offer of $4.5 million for next season with Knicks with no guaranteed money after the 2019-20 season or signing a five-year, $158 million deal with New York.
Moving Porzingis clears enough cap space for the Knicks to sign two max free agents this summer.