There’s now multiple reports suggesting that the Dallas Mavericks are open to a Kristaps Porzingis trade ahead of the March 25 deadline. While Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has denied this, there seems to be some smoke to the fire.
Porzingis, 25, has been somewhat of an injury-plagued enigma since jumping on to the scene as a talented youngster with the New York Knicks back in 2015-16. He has not played in as many as 70 games since that rookie campaign and continues to struggle on the defensive end.
Even then, there’s a whole lot to like about Porzingis’ game on offense. Still not in his prime, the Latvian is averaging 20.5 points and 8.6 rebounds on 48% shooting from the field this season. He also has range, having shot 36% from distance throughout his young career.
Most recently, Porzingis has returned from his latest injury to post some pretty lethal numbers. He’s averaging 22.3 points and 9.0 rebounds on 40% shooting from three-point range over the past 11 games.
Among the teams expected to be most active ahead of the March 25 NBA trade deadline, the Miami Heat could make a ton of sense. They have struggled to an 18-18 start to the season and could use an actual scorer inside to go with star center Bam Adebayo. Here’s why a Kristaps Porzingis trade to the Miami Heat makes sense.
Miami Heat are a perfect fit in a Kristaps Porzingis trade
First off, it must be noted that Kelly Olynyk has been among the worst regular starters in the NBA this season. The big man is shooting an horrific 44% from the field and is actually negative in the offensive plus-minus category. That’s objectively bad, and it’s holding back the Heat in a big way.
It goes without saying that Porzingis would be a dramatic upgrade in this area. Obviously, defense would be an issue. As bad as Olynyk has been on offense, the “Unicorn” has been equally as bad defensively. With that said, there’s ways around this based on a hypothetical Porzingis trade to South Beach (more on that below).
Offensively, a core five consisting of Tyler Herro, Kendrick Nunn, Jimmy Butler, Kristaps Porzingis and Bam Adebayo could potentially compete with the likes of the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers moving forward on the season. That has to be Miami overriding goal after earning a surprise trip to the NBA Finals a season ago.
Read More: 3 ideal Kristaps Porzingis trade scenarios
How would a Kristaps Porzingis trade to the Miami Heat would look
Dallas is not going to give Porzingis away for free. In fact, he’d be the hottest commodity on the NBA trade block if the big man were actually made available ahead of March 25. Recent suggestions from ESPN’s Tim MacMahon indicate that this is in fact going to be the case.
If so, here’ a look at a hypothetical Porzingis deal to the Miami Heat
- Heat get: Kristaps Porzingis, Dwight Powell
- Mavericks get: Duncan Robinson, Precious Achiuwa, Goran Dragic, Kelly Olynyk, Maurice Harkless, future first and second-round pick
There’s a number of layers to this blockbuster. We mentioned above how Porzingis would impact Miami defensively. Being able to bring in Powell as an option off the bench could be big for the Heat. Despite some struggles this season, he’s been seen as a plus-level defender in the low-post.
Parting with four players who are currently in their rotation would be difficult for the Heat. With that said, Miami is a prime location for players set to be bought out in the next few weeks. That could potentially include a dominant rebounder in Andre Drummond. Simply put, the Heat would still have options to increase their depth. For now, the following bench options wouldn’t be too bad.
- Avery Bradley
- Andre Iguodala
- Dwight Powell
- Max Strus
- Gabe Vincent
- KZ Okpala
As for Dallas, this hypothetical Kristaps Porzingis trade would be made with the idea of finding a true second star behind stud young guard Luka Doncic.
Financially, it makes a ton of sense. Moving off Porzingis’ five-year, $158 million contract would be huge. Adding the expiring deals of Olynyk and Hartless would also be big, especially given the fact that Powell is still playing under a multi-year deal that’s paying him $23.16 million over the next two years.
What does this all mean? If you add in the expiring contracts of Tim Hardaway Jr. and James Johnson, that’s another $34.6 million coming off the books. In short, the Mavericks could either make a play for a max-level free agent during the summer or pull off a blockbuster trade. Adding Achiuwa, Robinson and multiple draft picks magnifies this further.
For now, Dragic would man the point guard position with Doncic being a bit more off the ball. Josh Richardson manning the three with Hardaway Jr. coming off the bench would also be the ideal scenario.
With that said, this hypothetical Kristaps Porzingis trade is all about Dallas pretty much sacrificing contention this season in order to find that true second star behind Doncic moving forward.