3:35pm: Porzingis practiced with no restrictions today, according to Carlisle (Twitter link via Townsend). However, team owner Mark Cuban said there are still no plans to return to game action for Dallas this season (Twitter link).
It’s a surprising development after coach Rick Carlisle said last week that the prospects for Porzingis being ready to practice before the end of the season were “doubtful.” However, the 23-year-old has been able to move through the rehab process since being acquired from the Knicks at the end of January. He showed few lingering effects of last year’s ACL injury as he played a 1-on-1 game Friday against Kostas Antetokounmpo, then moved onto a 3-on-3 workout yesterday.
“KP is doing very well,” Carlisle said. “I watched him play a live 3-on-3 game this morning and do a lot of spectacular things and a lot of simple things with a great degree of specialization. The prospect of him being with us on the court is extremely exciting. But we’re not there yet. But he’s ramping it up and he’ll be practicing with us sometime soon.”
Although there are still no plans to use Porzingis in a game this season, there is plenty of optimism in Dallas over the latest developments. In a TNT interview, Porzingis said he has been “feeling great” and intends to practice today “with no restrictions at all.”
“I’m super-excited about the opportunity to be back on the court soon,” he said. “I’m getting the itch. I’ve been getting the itch for a looong time to get back on the court. And now that I’m actually with the team, a hundred percent, I just can’t wait.”
Seeing Porzingis healthy and productive again would be reassuring to the Mavericks as they head into a summer where he will be eligible for a five-year extension worth up to $158MM. It also sends a message to any free agents Dallas might be chasing with an estimated $30MM in cap room.
The Mavericks are 14th in the Western Conference with a 27-40 record, but are hoping to quickly build a contender based around Porzingis, rookie Luka Doncic, and a splashy free agent signing.
“I like everything I see in him,” Carlisle said of Porzingis. “I like the disposition, I like the mental approach, I like the attention to detail, I like the seriousness, I like the detailed approach to developing his craft and skill. And it’s certainly exciting.”