The Mavericks have “quietly gauged” the potential trade market for Kristaps Porzingis as they continue to evaluate whether he can be the team’s second star behind Luka Doncic, league sources tell Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report.
“They’ve kicked the tires on everybody on their roster that’s not named Luka,” a person with knowledge of the situation told Fischer. “You know (president of basketball operations) Donnie (Nelson); they’re always tinkering.”
Mavs owner Mark Cuban disputed the report, telling Tim Cato of The Athletic that his club has “not discussed (Porzingis) with anyone.” However, Ian Begley of SNY.tv backs up Fischer’s reporting, citing sources who say Dallas reached out to the Warriors to gauge their interest in the big man.
As Fischer explains, Porzingis’ ever-growing injury history and his struggles on defense are possible concerns for the Mavericks. Still, it sounds like if Dallas is discussing Porzingis at all, it’s more about the team doing its due diligence or considering hypothetical scenarios than actually looking to move on from the 25-year-old. Cato says it’s “incredibly unlikely” the former No. 4 overall pick will be traded this season or in the summer.
According to Fischer, the Mavericks are believed to be more interested adding a center who can complement Porzingis in the frontcourt, such as perhaps Andre Drummond. Dallas would like a big man with “physicality, rebounding, (and) toughness,” one source tells Bleacher Report.
While it’s not clear if Hawks big man John Collins will be a pre-deadline trade target for the Mavs, league sources believe the team would make a “significant offer” to him if he reaches restricted free agency in the offseason, per Fischer.
Dallas has also explored the trade market for additional shooting and perimeter defense, according to Fischer, who adds that the Mavs appear to have been one of the more active teams in the early stages of trade conversations around the league.
Porzingis’ injury issues and his defensive shortcomings have prevented him taking a major step toward stardom since arriving in Dallas, and he owns the most expensive contract on the Mavs’ books, with three years and $101MM+ left on his deal after this season. However, that contract isn’t interfering with Dallas’ ability to upgrade the roster, as the club still projects to have a significant chunk of cap room available in the summer of 2021.