Kristaps Porzingis was supposed to be the blue-chip piece who'd mesh with Luka Doncic and turn the Dallas Mavericks into NBA championship contenders. Two full seasons into his Mavs career, it's safe to say that the Latvian hasn't been able to unlock his potential. Recurring knee injuries haven't helped his case either.
During the 2021 NBA Playoffs, Kristaps Porzingis was reduced to a 7'3 catch-and-shoot role player. That's not enough value for the Dallas Mavericks, who gave him a five-year $158 million extension in the summer of 2019. Even Porzingis is seemingly frustrated by the situation at hand and a trade seems imminent.
3 trade destinations for Kristaps Porzingis
Kristaps Porzingis has had his issues, but it must be remembered that he'll turn just 26 in roughly two months. Porzingis still has time on his side and if he can get his conditioning right, the Unicorn's shooting range and rim protection ability can come in handy for many teams.
On that note, let's look at the three teams that should trade for Kristaps Porzingis.
#1 Charlotte Hornets
The Charlotte Hornets will have roughly $29 million in cap space in the upcoming offseason. They desperately need a big man and also want to push for the playoffs. This is where Kristaps Porzingis comes in.
Porzingis may not exactly play at the five, but the Hornets can pair him up with PJ Washington, who functioned as the stretch five this season anyway. LaMelo Ball will have another potent floor spacer and lob threat to work with. Ball and Porzingis could develop a pick-and-roll game as well.
Any trade for Kristaps Porzingis without sending back much in return will require the Hornets to part with their 2021 lottery pick. They also have two restricted free agents in Devonte' Graham and Malik Monk, one of whom could be sent to Dallas via sign-and-trade.
#2 Miami Heat
The Miami Heat's lack of scoring options was exposed during their sweep at the hands of the Milwaukee Bucks. Kristaps Porzingis' shooting ability could come in extremely handy for the Heat, and they're one of the few teams who can live with his defensive limitations.
The Heat do not have many picks to offer to the Dallas Mavericks, but they could send one of Duncan Robinson and Kendrick Nunn the other way via sign-and-trade. They'll have to drop the team option on either Goran Dragic or Andre Iguodala to create the space to absorb Kristaps Porzingis' $31.6 million salary.
The Miami Heat would get their third star, while the Mavs would get financial relief and a useful role player to slot in beside Luka Doncic.
#3 Oklahoma City Thunder
The Oklahoma City Thunder are still in rebuilding mode, but if they get lucky in the 2021 draft, they might be just one piece away from having a team that can play competitive basketball. Kristaps Porzingis could be that piece.
Even if that isn't the case, the Thunder have $54 million in cap space for the 2021-22 season. They could just take on Porzingis' contract as a salary dump to acquire more draft assets while sending back someone like Darius Bazley the other way. They could send Al Horford too if the Mavs felt the need for veteran leadership.
The Oklahoma City Thunder could just work on developing Kristaps Porzingis and resuscitate his trade value, as they did with Chris Paul and even Al Horford to an extent. Porzingis' age matches the Thunder's rebuilding timeline, so they could decide to keep him around as well.
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