The Toronto Raptors are in the process of unturning every stone at the Trade Deadline as they look to acquire some size, and the Dallas Mavericks might’ve just started to dangle a very shiny lure in front of them by making Kristaps Porzingis available. League sources told Bleacher Report that Dallas has “sniffed around” the trade market for the 7-3 big man.
Porzingis was traded to the Mavericks from the New York Knicks as they opened up cap space to unsuccessfully make a run at Kevin Durant in the 2019 offseason. While Mark Cuban and Rick Carlisle envisioned an all-Balkan core centered around both the gangly Latvian and Slovenian superstar Luka Doncic, Porzingis hasn’t held up his end of the bargain.
On the offensive end, Porzings looks every bit like the No. 4 overall pick who became a star in New York, as he is averaging 20.5 points and 9.2 rebounds with Dallas while shooting 43% from the floor and 35% from deep. While he is averaging 1.9 blocks per game, his defense has been a major question mark.
Injuries have also been a problem, as Porzingis has played in just over half of Dallas’ games since he was traded. However, if Toronto overlooks the injury history and focuses on what he can do offensively, a deal could get done.
If Porzingis does end up on the move, which would signal that Dallas is looking to get Luka a new co-star, this deal could make sure he ends up in Toronto and makes the Raptors’ offense even more feared.
This Raptors-Mavericks trade gets Kristaps Porzingis to Toronto
The Mavericks would have one of the most feared backcourts in the league between Doncic and Kyle Lowry. While Dallas isn’t in the postseason right now, that alignment could help the Mavericks make a charge in the West. The Mavericks have scorers, but they need some interior defense, and Baynes can provide more of that than Porzingis.
While the Raptors are thriving in their new small-ball lineup, adding some more size before what should be a vicious playoff battle isn’t a bad idea. Porzingis might not be a tremendous defender, but he can keep Toronto’s high-octane offense rolling due to his ability to run the floor and create his own shot.
Given how late Toronto will likely be drafting this season, it’s unlikely that pick gets used on an immediate starter. Dallas, who is left without a first-round pick this year due to the Porzingis trade, would value that pick more.
Porzingis’ contract, which will pay him an average of $31.6 million over the next three seasons, is both a blessing and a curse. While a healthy Porzings could give the Raptors a star for the next 3.5 years, that deal will weigh on Toronto’s financial flexibility like an anchor if he is still struggling to stay healthy.
Even with those concerns, big men with his size, shooting stroke, and offensive intuition are few and far between.
While trading away two first-round picks for a player that has been frequently hampered by injuries, Porzingis’ ability to potentially change the entire look of the Raptors’ offense as soon as he arrives could be enough for Masai Ujiri to be sold on this deal. It’s a risk, but it’s a calculated risk that Ujiri should be more than comfortable making.