The Dallas Mavericks and Washington Wizards beat Thursday’s NBA Trade Deadline buzzer with the most surprising trade of the day.
Dallas sent forward/center Kristaps Porzingis to the Wizards for point guard Spencer Dinwiddie and forward Davis Bertans.
Source: Mavs are trading Kristaps Porzingis to the Wizards for Spencer Dinwiddie and Davis Bertans.
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) February 10, 2022
After the trade was announced, ESPN NBA analyst Tim Legler did not hold back with his assessment of Porzingis:
Tim Legler just lit Porzingis on fire pic.twitter.com/KsjfpAW7oc
— CJ Fogler AKA Perc70 #BlackLivesMatter (@cjzero) February 10, 2022
“I love this deal, absolutely, for the Mavericks. No question about it. Because, you look at a guy like Kristaps Porzingis… I know he got nicknamed ‘The Unicorn’ because he’s so unique, but he’s also The Unicorn because you hardly ever see him. That’s the problem with Kristaps Porzingis. He’s not consistently available.”
That’s a deep burn.
Porzingis averaged 19.2 points, 7.7 rebounds, 2.0 assists, and 1.7 blocks, to go with a 22.1 Player Efficiency Rating for Dallas this season. While his numbers were very strong overall, he’s seen a big decline in his three-point shooting, making just 28.3% of his attempts, compared to a 35.3% career mark behind the arc.
The 7’3″ Latvian was nicknamed The Unicorn — initially by Kevin Durant — after showing off such a unique skillset at his size with the New York Knicks; he was with the Knicks from 2015-19 after they selected him with the No. 4 overall pick of the 2015 NBA Draft, and they traded him to the Mavericks in Jan. 2019.
However, Porzingis has had a difficult time staying on the court. He missed the entire 2018-19 season due to a torn ACL, and he topped out at 57 games played (2019-20) over the last five seasons due to health reasons. This season, he played 34 of the Mavericks’ 55 games, and he’s been sidelined since Jan. 29 due to a right knee bone bruise.
So, while Legler’s comments may come across as harsh, they’re hard to argue with at the same time. Porzingis is extremely talented and the production tends to be there when he’s able to play, but he’s missed significant time due to injuries- and we’re even seeing that while he’s being traded (for a second time).
Washington is 1.5 games out of the 10th seed in the Eastern Conference, but they’ve lost superstar guard Bradley Beal for the season due to surgery on his wrist. The Wizards are surely thinking long-term with this move.
In Dinwiddie, the Mavericks acquire a point guard that’s averaging 12.6 points and 5.8 assists per game (he averaged 20.6 points and 6.8 points with the Brooklyn Nets two seasons ago). And the 6’10” Bertans gives Dallas another big that can stretch the floor. Dallas — led by Luka Doncic — is 32-23, fifth in the Western Conference.