The Dallas Mavericks blew a series lead twice in the 2021 NBA playoffs before they were eliminated by the LA Clippers. With the Mavericks front office looking to build a title-contending team, major changes could be taking place in their roster this summer.
One player who has been under the scanner is Kristaps Porzingis, as he struggled with injuries this season. The former New York Knicks player had a forgettable postseason campaign as well. He was heavily criticized for his lack of production, leading to the Dallas Mavericks' early exit from the playoffs.
Porzingis averaged just 13.1 points and 5.4 rebounds on 47.2% shooting from the field, including 29.2% from the deep in the seven-game series against the LA Clippers.
Recent reports suggest that Porzingis is unhappy with his situation with the Dallas Mavericks. According to ESPN's Tim MacMahon:
"Porzingis has been frustrated, often feeling more like an afterthought than a co-star, as Doncic dominates the ball and the spotlight."
There is a very strong possibility that the Dallas Mavericks and Kristaps Porzingis could end their partnership this summer. However, there could be some difficulties the Mavericks may face in trading the 7' 3" power forward.
His huge salary, injury history and the team's latest setback in the playoffs could prove to be a stumbling block for the Mavericks' front office in any trade talks. But would trading him be the best solution for the Mavericks? Let's find out.
Why the Dallas Mavericks should trade Kristaps Porzingis
The Dallas Mavericks signed Kristaps Porzingis, hoping he could be the perfect fit alongside Luka Doncic, and the two would lead the team to on championship runs. However, things haven't gone according to plans.
Porzingis has featured in just 100 regular-season games for the team since joining the Dallas Mavericks in 2019, with injuries constantly plaguing him. The Dallas Mavericks haven't been able to find a way to get the best out of him.
Porzingis has been constantly shuffled around, playing as a floor spacer at the 4 or the 5. Despite his 7' 3" frame, his presence in the paint is not intimidating enough for the opposition. He averaged seven rebounds per game this season and shot just 49% of his post-up attempts.
That also makes him a defensive liability because of his unwillingness to put his body on the line against opposition big-men, which could be because of his chequered injury record.
The Dallas Mavericks could trade him to add some quality role players, who would provide depth in various positions. Moreover, they could get Porzingis' $31 million salary off their books for next season to have some flexibility in re-signing a player like Tim Hardaway Jr., who becomes a free agent this summer.
Hardaway was a much better player for the Dallas Mavericks than Porzingis was in the regular season and the playoffs as well. The former was the team's highest scorer behind Doncic in the first-round series.
Why the Dallas Mavericks shouldn't trade Kristaps Porzingis
Kristaps Porzingis and the Dallas Mavericks have a long off-season ahead, which gives them a reasonable amount of time to think about their partnership and how both parties could benefit from it. It also gives ample time for the player to improve his fitness and benefit the team next season. This is the first time in three years Porzingis is heading into the off-season without any injuries.
The Dallas Mavericks coaching staff could try and figure out a role for Porzingis that would keep him happy and also benefit the team. He was lethal during the 2020 playoffs, averaging 23.1 points on 52.9% three-point shooting before getting injured. Porzingis could have made the difference in that series if he had stayed healthy.
If Kristaps Porzingis can recover that level, which is a possibility considering the time he and the Dallas Mavericks have this off-season, the Mavericks could reap benefits from their association with the player.
According to Kevin O'Conner of The Ringer, sources have suggested that there is very minimal interest in Kristaps Porzingis from other teams at the moment. His poor performances of late and injury record have hampered his chances of securing a move away from the Dallas Mavericks this summer.
Nevertheless, the Dallas Mavericks could wait for Porzingis' value to go up and look to trade him mid-season or at the end of the next campaign. At the moment, the Mavericks may have to settle for something way less than what they initially expected from Porzingis after acquiring him from the New York Knicks.