Column: The ripple effect from the Kristaps Porzingis trade

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FILE- In this Dec. 21, 2017, file photo, New York Knicks’ Kristaps Porzingis (6) battles for the ball with Boston Celtics’ Marcus Smart during the first half of an NBA basketball game at Madison Square Garden in New York. The Knicks agree to trade injured star Kristaps Porzingis to Dallas Mavericks on Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki, File)

On Thursday, New York Knicks star power forward Kristaps Porzingis voiced his concern on the direction of the Knicks franchise. Just a few hours later, KP was dealt to the Dallas Mavericks along with Courtney Lee and Tim Hardaway Jr. for Dennis Smith Jr., Wes Matthews, DeAndre Jordan and an unspecified draft pick. This trade changes the entire landscape of the league, and sends a ripple effect from which we will see results from immediately and in the long term. Here are the three biggest takeaways from the Knicks/Mavs trade.

The Knicks just took an enormous risk.

By trading Porzingis, Lee and Hardaway Jr. to take on the expiring contracts of Matthews and Jordan, the Knicks opened up a world of financial freedom for themselves. The price they did pay, obviously, was losing their franchise cornerstone that was beloved by the fanbase. But with all of the expected cap space the Knicks will have this offseason, they will be prime candidates to make a run at Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant.

Other potential free agents the Knicks could go after include Kawhi Leonard, DeMarcus Cousins, Klay Thompson and Kemba Walker, but Kyrie and KD are the two that have expressed the most interest in New York. The Knicks are banking on signing a tandem of any of the above names. It is also worth noting that Cardiac Kemba is from New York and is known for exceptional performances at Madison Square Garden. If the Knicks could sign any two of these guys to max contracts, they’ll be winners of this trade.

Not tryin’ for Zion.

The Knicks are officially completely banking on ping pong balls bouncing their way so they can draft Zion Williamson from Duke in the upcoming draft. Williamson is the closest thing to a sure-thing first overall pick we’ve seen since Anthony Davis. And he’s the only player that has Lebron James potential. By moving Porzingis, the Knicks are ready to move on to a new franchise cornerstone. Williamson would be just the thing. He already has so much media attention, the bright lights of New York won’t faze him. And can you imagine his show-stopping dunks in MSG? That’d be a world of fun to see.

Luka and Kristaps running Dallas.

The Mavs might be the best young, talented team on the rise with the addition of Porzingis. Doncic has proven himself as a generational talent at just 19 years old. 20.4 points, 6.9 rebounds and 5.4 assists as a 19-year-old rookie is unbelievable, and that’s on a team without a second star. KP should be that second star, and compliments Doncic well. The freedom in pick and rolls and pick and pops with Doncic as the ball handler and Porzingis as the roll/pop man would be unstoppable. Porzingis’ 7’3” self would either be barrelling to the rim wide open, or out to the perimeter where he shot nearly 40 percent last season before the injury. If the defense commits to Porzingis, Doncic can score anywhere on the floor off the dribble, especially from deep. He attempts 6.7 threes per game and knocks them down at a 35 percent rate. And both players only have room to grow.

It is very possible for both teams to win this trade. The Knicks could land Williamson and sign Kyrie and KD in free agency to build a big-three in New York, and the Mavericks could build the next dynasty with generational talents in Doncic and Porzingis. Who knows? Maybe the two will meet in the 2021 NBA Finals.


Sean Janos is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at sean.janos@uconn.edu.

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