The Dallas Mavericks have a lot of ideas for this summer with potential free agent targets, trade options and puzzling together the roster. One thing that doesn’t need any discussion is the fact that Kristaps Porzingis is going to get paid.
When the Dallas Mavericks entered the 2018-19 season, there were a lot of question marks. The team looked good on paper, but no one really had an idea of how they would compete with other Western Conference teams. DeAndre Jordan, Harrison Barnes, Wesley Matthews and Dennis Smith Jr. felt like a solid group to put around Luka Doncic, but only time would tell.
By midseason, it was clear that the Mavs peak opportunity was probably a first round exit in the playoffs, while their floor was a team stuck between the high lottery picks and the playoffs. Rick Carlisle, Donnie Nelson and Mark Cuban knew the Mavs were better off changing plans, but they had to find the right move.
The right move presented itself to Dallas who took it and ran with it so fast that there were no other teams in sight. The rumor that Kristaps Porzingis wanted out of New York was followed so closely by the official trade between the Knicks and the Mavs that many people thought it was a misprint.
Just like that, the Mavs team had a completely different look and a completely different plan for success. The Mavs did not just stumble in to a superstar, though. It cost the team a pretty penny to get the big man from Latvia, including a former top 10 pick in DSJ and two future first-round selections as well.
The reason for this is because everyone in the organization recognized that this was a long term move. That fact could not have been more evident than when we learned for certain that KP was not going to be playing at all in the 2018-19 season.
The Porzingis max deal would be a 5 year, $158 million deal that goes up every year, starting at $27 million in 2019-20 all the way to $37 million in 2023-24. That’s a lot of money for a guy that has struggled with his health throughout his NBA career. It is also a lot of money to a guy who hasn’t played a single game in a Mavs jersey.
And yet, it is worth every penny, because success in the NBA rarely comes without risk. The fact of the matter is, if KP can get under a good regime and learn his body better and better over the next few months, we could get a healthy player the likes of which the NBA has really never seen. Porzingis offers such an offensive dynamic that most other teams don’t have the right guy to have a chance of slowing him down.
Porzingis career stats of 17.8 points, 7.1 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game are impressive when you take into account all that he has been through. Knowing that he is in a new environment and has new people who want him to succeed, it will not be surprising at all if he raises each of those averages this year.
The one benefit that the Mavs do have in this process is that KP is a restricted free agent, meaning that if the Mavs choose to hold off on his deal until after the cap is essentially filled, they can then re-sign Porzingis and still avoid any luxury tax on the cap overage.