In search of a way to improve their team while also gaining some flexibility, the Dallas Mavericks traded forward/center Kristaps Porzingis and a protected 2022 second-round draft pick to the Washington Wizards on Thursday for shooting guard Spencer Dinwiddie and small forward Davis Bertans.
In a related move, the Mavs also waived center Moses Brown.
Porzingis was acquired by the Mavs from the New York Knicks on Jan. 31, 2019 in a blockbuster trade that sent shock waves across the NBA. However, after signing a five-year, $158 million contract with the Mavs in the summer of 2019, Porzingis spent more than his share of time on the injury list, and the Mavs decided to move forward without him.
Nico Harrison, the president of basketball operations and general manger for the Mavs, expressed his gratitude for what Porzingis gave the Mavs during his tenure with this organization.
“I just want to publicly acknowledge and thank KP for all he’s done for the organization,” Harrison said. “Calling him — although it was my first time calling somebody when they got traded – he was extremely gracious, he was extremely thankful that I reached out to him calling him, and he handled it like a professional.
“Since my time here he’s been nothing but a professional. Extremely diligent worker, always in the gym on days off, always working on his body, and for that I thanked him.”
In 134 games with the Mavs, Porzingis averaged 20 points, 8.8 rebounds and 1.7 blocks. And this season he was averaging 19.2 points, 7.7 rebounds and 1.7 blocks.
However, Porzingis missed 21 of the Mavs’ 55 games this season and was on the injured list with a bone bruise in his right knee when the trade was announced. Also, the Mavs went into Thursday’s game against the Los Angeles Clippers with a 16-5 record in their last 21 games. Porzingis missed 12 of those games, and the Mavs were 9-3 in those contests.
But, Harrison said the trade wasn’t just about trading Porzingis in order to improve the team.
“It was about really giving ourselves the flexibility that we needed to be the team we want to be, and I think that’s really the bottom line,” Harrison said. “We were able to give ourselves more flexibility and then add more depth.”
Point guard Luka Doncic said he awaken from an afternoon nap when he heard the news that Porzingis had been traded.
“It was shocking,” Doncic said. “I didn’t expect it. Obviously, we’re going to miss KP.
“We were building something great here. I wish him the best.”
Coach Jason Kidd also wished Porzingis the best in his future endeavors, adding that losing players via trades is simply the business side of the NBA.
“KP, I talked to him this afternoon and he was great,” Kidd said. “He did everything for us, but this is just part of the business. Trades take place.
“He’s going to do great in Washington. That’s just what it is. It’s a business.”
As far as whether or not the Mavs need a co-star alongside Doncic to win a championship, Kidd said: “I think you always want talent to win championships. I’m just a coach who has to put guys in position to be successful. As we go through this journey we’ll see if we come across a number two guy.
“It could be the team that we have here where there is no real second star. We’ve just got guys who play roles that are very high level, and you’ve seen teams win championships that way, too.”
Reminded that the Mavs won a championship that way in 2011 when Dirk Nowitzki was the lone superstar in his prime, Kidd, who was a crucial part of that team, said: “You had one superstar and the rest were burgers. We all accept that. We knew our roles. We were burgers.”
In analyzing what the Mavs received in Thursday’s trade, Harrison and Kidd believe this is a business decision that will pay off long-term.
“We got two new guys that are welcomed,” Doncic said. “Bertans is a great shooter.
“Dinwiddie can put the ball on the floor, and he can score. Everything’s a business.”
Dinwiddie is in his eighth season and averaged 12.6 points, 4.7 rebounds and 5.8 assists in 44 games for the Wizards this season while playing 30.2 minutes per contest. The 6-6, 215-pounder also shot 37.6 percent from the field and 31 percent from beyond the three-point arc.
A second-round draft pick by Detroit in 2014, Dinwiddie – he turns 29 on April 6 — played for the Pistons until they traded him to the Chicago Bulls on June 17, 2016. Dinwiddie never played a game for the Bulls, and was eventually signed by the Brooklyn Nets on Dec. 8, 2016.
As far as Bertans goes, the 6-10, 225-pounder has career averages of 8.4 points and 2.7 rebounds in 19.4 minutes in 365 games. In 34 games for the Wizards this season, Bertans, 29, averaged 5.7 points and 1.8 rebounds in 14.8 minutes.
“In terms of Spencer and Bertans, I think both of them gives us a lot of flexibility for the future and they add depth to our roster,” Harrison said. “So, I’m excited to get them in here and get them in the rotation.”
So, too, is Kidd.
“They’re veterans,” Kidd said. “That’s what I like about those two coming.”
Brown, meanwhile, never materialized into the player the Mavs thought he would become when they acquired him last summer in a trade with the Boston Celtics for guard Josh Richardson. The 7-2, 245-pounder appeared in just 26 games this season and averaged 3.1 points and 2.3 rebounds in 6.5 minutes.
“Moses was great,” Harrison said. “That’s why we guaranteed his contract, because Moses worked his butt off. Literally, he would carry his notebook every day.”
Now, Dinwiddie and Bertans will be carrying their notebook as new members of the Mavs.