The Mavericks were told that the Kristaps Porzingis situation was a case of extortion rather than a rape allegation before they acquired him from the Knicks, sources told Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News reports.
A woman who lived in the same New York City apartment complex as Porzingis made the accusation to police last week. The alleged incident occurred in February 2018.
Knicks officials made Dallas executives aware of the pending allegation during a conference call to finalize the trade. However, the incident was not described that way. “The word that was used was ‘extortion,'” according to one of Townsend’s sources.
Knicks officials also told the Mavericks they felt Porzingis was truthful in his denials. The Mavericks were further informed that the FBI was investigating, Townsend adds.
A report from Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic also asserts the Mavericks were notified of the FBI investigation of the extortion claim before the trade but didn’t know about a sexual assault allegation.
NBA Players Association executive director Michele Roberts issued a statement supporting Porzingis: “We have been aware of these allegations for some time, have evaluated the accuser’s claims and, based on what is presently before us, stand with Kristaps.”
The woman contacted the Knicks‘ legal department approximately eight months after the alleged incident in an effort to “mediate in private” a payment of $68K. The accuser claimed that Porzingis agreed to co-sign a statement with her that promised her a payment toward her brother’s education. However, Porzingis’ attorney told ESPN that he believes the document is “a forgery.”
An investigation conducted by the same lawyer was sent to the Knicks, the NBA, the Players Association, and later the Mavericks, as well as the FBI, according to Vorkunov.
Riopelle claimed all of those parties agreed the analysis showed Porzingis was the target of an extortion attempt. However, a source told Vorkunov that the NBA has not come to that conclusion but instead decided to let the federal investigation proceed without coming to any judgment.
Porzingis opted to remain with the Mavericks and support them from the bench when they played the Sixers on Monday night. Coach Rick Carlisle said it was “business as usual from a basketball perspective” regarding Porzingis’ status with the club, Michael Lee of The Athletic tweets.
Some of his former Knicks teammates expressed empathy for Porzingis, as Marc Berman of the New York Post details.