The Dallas Mavericks made waves early on deadline day when rumors leaked that they were talking about a Kristaps Porzingis trade with the Toronto Raptors. Rumors came from multiple sources, but it was unclear how serious talks were. The Raptors were shopping and eventually moved Goran Dragic and their 2022 first round. Dallas was looking to move Porzingis, and Toronto ended up acquiring Thaddeus Young, so what happened?
Marc Stein did a ton of incredible reporting via his Substack (subscription required) on the Mavs dealing Porzingis. He notes that the Raptors backed off talks with Dallas because of concerns about the Unicorn’s health moving forward. KP’s troubles staying on the court were one of the reasons Dallas wanted to move off his contract in the first place.
Even with injury concerns why did Toronto choose to acquire Thaddeus Young or Porzingis? Here is a look at their rationale before taking a look at what is next for both KP and the Mavericks.
Why did Raptors choose Thaddeus Young over Dallas Mavericks deal for Kristaps Porzingis?
Toronto was worried about the Unicorn’s health, so they pivoted and made a deal with the Spurs for Thaddeus Young. The 33-year-old was out of San Antonio’s rotation at the time of the trade, and he has played just 26 games this season. The veteran is a skilled role player, but he is not Porzingis.
The move came down to money and flexibility. Porzingis has two seasons and more than $69 million left on his contract after this year. The Raptors did not want to be caught holding an unmovable contract if the Unicorn suffered another injury. Young is on an expiring deal, so it was surprising to see Toronto trade a first-round pick to get off Dragic’s contract as the Raptors could have bought out the remainder of his expiring deal.
The Dallas Mavericks pivoted and found a trade for Porzingis that sent him to the Wizards for Spencer Dinwiddie and Davis Bertans. Stein notes that both teams were happy to move away from distressed assets more than they were excited about the players they were acquiring.
The Mavs have more flexibility moving forward. They traded Porzingis to reshape the team around superstar Luka Doncic, so more moves are on the horizon. Expect Dallas to be active and aggressive in trying to acquire pieces this summer.
Porzingis is still recovering from a bone bruise that caused him to miss the final six games of his Mavericks tenure. Hopefully, the Unicorn stays healthy in D.C. and can make a massive impact for the Wizards. Bradley Beal is out for the season following wrist surgery, so KP should have plenty of opportunities to shine when he gets back on the court.
The Dallas Mavericks are still fifth in the Western Conference and looking to win their first playoff series since taking home the championship in 2011. Their roster lost talent in Kristaps Porzingis trade, but no team wants to face Luka Doncic in the postseason. Fans should stay tuned because there will be plenty of fireworks from the 22-year-old superstar down the stretch and into the playoffs.