If you’re reading this, chances are, you’re confused, too.
And if you caught BasketballNews.com's NBA Trade
Deadline Show on Thursday, you saw that we were very
bumfuzzled... among other things.
But yeah, say that sh*t out loud: Kristaps Porzingis is a
Washington Wizard. And Porzingis is a Wizard because
Spencer Dinwiddie and Davis Bertāns are now Dallas Mavericks.
Alright, now take a breath, and let’s take a few minutes to
attempt to understand this together.
It was clearer than Sweet Baby Ray’s barbecue sauce being
amazing that the Mavericks did not want any more of the
Porzingis experience. When moved from the New York Knicks three
trade deadlines ago, KP was thought to be a franchise star joining
then-rookie sensation Luka Dončić to uplift the Mavericks into
whatever stratosphere we were talking about at the time. Seriously,
that feels like generations ago.
But in "KP Years" it kinda was.
Back then, Porzingis was in the midst of sitting out all of the
2018-19 season, his fourth in the NBA. But the previous year,
he had been named a first-time All-Star in just
his third season despite his Knicks being 21-27 on the day he was
honored. Two weeks later, he tore his ACL, ending his season with
averages of 22.7 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.4 blocks on
.439/.395/.865 shooting splits. In Dallas, he has come close at
times, but hasn’t been able to fully replicate his All-Star self —
even as his numbers may suggest otherwise, especially on the
If he was still Unicorn KP, he wouldn’t have gotten dumped for
Dinwiddie and Bertāns, the latter of whom is in the conversation
for worst contract in the NBA. But to his credit, Porzingis was
having a productive season.
In his tenure with the Mavs, Porzingis averaged 20.0 points, 8.8
rebounds and 1.7 blocks with a .448/.345/.831 slash line. He
averaged 4.4 free throw attempts per contest and 5.0 in 2019-20;
however this season, it was just 3.2 FTAs a night. Even so, his
free-throw rate has progressively dropped every season in Dallas,
from .260 to .247 to .240.
To this point currently, Porzingis stands at 19.2 points, 7.7
rebounds, and 1.7 blocks on .451/.283/.865 shooting. The 28.3% from
three is coming on 5.1 attempts per game (his lowest as a Mav),
which is a drop from 7.1 to 6.0 in the two seasons previous.
Porzingis had been anchoring one of the league’s best defenses
at times. As of this writing, the Mavericks stand third in fewest points allowed per game,
fifth in defensive efficiency, and ninth in point differential.
Porzingis even had the team’s second-best win shares per 48 minutes
at .172, only behind Dwight Powell, and marking his personal
But as Tim Cato penned in The Athletic, this has more to
do about the direction of Dallas as a team.
Porzingis is eating $31.6 million this year, leaving little room
for the Mavericks to maneuver this pffseason without financial
creativity, which hasn’t been their strong suit in previous
offseasons if you haven’t noticed. KP is also due $33.8 million
next year with a $36 million player option for 2023-24, and you can
guess how that one’ll go.
By adding Dinwiddie and Bertāns, you’re now eating
those contracts, but they’re not as taxing individually.
As ran through recently here,
Dinwiddie is due $17.1 million this year and $18 million next year,
and has a partial guarantee for $18.9 million in 2023-24. Dinwiddie
has $10 million guaranteed in '23-24, but the deal becomes fully guaranteed if he plays
50 games each in the two seasons prior; he's played in 44 this
year, so he's only six games away from satisfying half of the
Bertāns will get $16 million again next year and $17 million in
2023-24, and has a partially-guaranteed $16 million in 2024-25.
For Dallas, these two contracts are just easier to navigate
with, and it breaks up the supposed tension-filled relationship
we’ve heard about between Dončić and Porzingis for multiple years
now. Dinwiddie is also insurance for pending restricted free agent
Jalen Brunson, whom the Mavericks still plan to keep, according to ESPN’s Tim
The move completely reshapes how the Mavs will build around
Dončić this summer and beyond, which they already signaled
post-trade by signing Dorian Finney-Smith to a well-deserved four
year, $52 million extension.
This season overall, Dinwiddie is averaging 12.6 points, 5.8
assists, and 4.7 rebounds on .376/.310/.811 shooting splits. Coming
off his second ACL tear, his free throw rate is, at .240, the
lowest of his career, which typically hovered between .252 and .270
The big question with Dinwiddie will be how he’ll fit next to
Dončić, given that he wasn’t his best next to another ball dominant
guard in Bradley Beal; although, he did appear to play well without
the Wizards' superstar, for what that’s worth.
According to StatMuse, he averaged 10.2 points, 5.0 assists and
4.4 rebounds on .334/.271/.857 splits while playing alongside Beal in 31
in 13 games without Beal? Dinwiddie was damn near an All-Star,
posting 18.5 points, 7.8 assists and 5.5 rebounds per game on a
.441/.378/.746 slash line. Free throw percentage is down, sure, but
he got there 4.5 times per contest versus the 2.7 he did when Beal
was out there.
Now, in Dallas, you’re hoping to find out that this was a not
ball-dominant guard problem, as opposed to a Beal one. They did
possibly snipe at one another over that whole leadership thing
after all. For all we know, one day we could find out that
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Montrezl Harrell weren’t the only
Wizards who wanted to beat each other’s
As for Bertāns...
He averages over 14 minutes per game in D.C., is just at 5.7
points per game and shooting a career low (by far!) 31.9% from
three. He got this contract after shooting above 42% from deep in
back-to-back seasons, and since then, he’s fallen off a cliff. His
major redeeming quality could be tapped into while stretching the
floor with a virtuoso passer like Dončić, which we theorized for a
fellow Latvian a few trade deadlines ago. (Spoiler: That was
Porzingis, so we’ll see, I guess.)
As for Washington, another big reason this trade was even on the
table was because of Porzingis’ lack of availability. Even now,
he’s nursing a knee injury and hasn’t played in nearly two weeks.
In Dallas, not including the lost 2018-19 season, Porzingis played
144 of a possible 218 games, including the playoffs. If you do add
the games he missed while recovering from a torn ACL, that’s an
additional 31 as a part of the Mavericks.
Porzingis, who turns 27 in August, likely has already seen his
best days, and might even be years removed from them. In
Washington, the franchise is still reportedly trying to reshape
their own future around Beal, who is expected to miss the rest of
the season due to wrist surgery and could sign an extension this
summer worth well over $200 million.
If the Wizards plan on building around Beal and Porzingis,
wouldn't that just look like a 75% or so version of what we saw
with KP and Luka in Dallas?
Does having Porzingis bring them closer to keeping Beal? And, if
so, is that even the direction they should go in?
Your hypothesis might be better than mine, but hey, at least you
got rid of those other contracts, I guess.
Looking to go to the hottest
concerts, sports, theater & family shows near you? Get 100%
guaranteed tickets to more than 125,000 live events from
TicketSmarter, the official ticket marketplace of
BasketballNews.com. Order online