There was obviously a lot of talk around the NBA when the Dallas Mavericks acquired Kristaps Porzingis from the New York Knicks in that blockbuster trade.
But the other three players the Mavs got in that trade – Tim Hardaway Jr., Courtney Lee and Trey Burke – also had their moments with Dallas last season.
Hardaway averaged 15.5 points and 3.2 rebounds in 19 games for the Mavs last season before shutting it down late in the year due to a leg injury. Lee averaged 3.6 points in 12.2 minutes in 22 games, and Burke averaged 9.7 points in 17.4 minutes in 25 games.
“We had great experiences with everybody,” coach Rick Carlisle said before Friday’s game against the Knicks. “Burke played extremely well for us.
“He was a guy that had a real knack to score. He improved his defense while he was with us.”
As far as Hardaway goes, he admittedly was not fully healthy when he joined the Mavs.
“Tim Hardaway was struggling with the leg issue,” Carlisle said. “He attempted to play through it a month, a month-and-a-half, and the right thing to do was to shut him down.
“Then he got surgery right after the season and he feels great now, and you can tell he moves like a different player.”
Lee, who played the fewest minutes of the players the Mavs acquired in that trade not named Porzingis, also was a bonus for Carlisle’s squad. He got the start alongside Luka Doncic Friday night against his old team.
“I’ve been a fan of Lee for a long time,” Carlisle said. “He’s a terrific veteran, a guy that’s been on playoff teams that have gone deep.
“He’s added a lot to our team even when he hasn’t been in the rotation. He pushes our young players. He’s been a guy that’s really pushed Luka in practice and I think helped elevate Luka’s game.”
Hardaway and Lee are back with the Mavs this season, while Burke signed a free agent contract this past summer with the Philadelphia 76ers.
FINNEY-SMITH HAD DINNER WITH SMITH JR.: Dorian Finney-Smith had a good night Thursday because he got a chance to have dinner with his close friend, New York Knicks guard Dennis Smith Jr.
Smith hasn’t played since Oct. 26 after learning that his step-mom passed away. Thus, when he and Finney-Smith got together on Thursday, basketball was not the topic of conversation,
“He’s doing good,” Finney-Smith said. “It’s just good to see him smiling.
“We didn’t really talk too much basketball — just pretty much life.”
Smith was one of the outgoing players in the trade that brought Kristaps Porzingis to the Mavericks last season. Smith, who was at Friday’s Mavs-Knicks game at American Airlines Center, but not in uniform, was drafted ninth overall by Dallas in 2017.
“He’s a real asset and when he gets healthy and he gets right, he’s going to be a guy that can help them a lot,” Carlisle said. “I’m very sorry about his stepmom – I heard about that.
“I know it’s been a difficult time.”
Smith and Finney-Smith did virtually everything together when the former was with the Mavs. And Finney-Smith is hopeful that Smith will be back on the court when the Mavs play the Knicks in New York on Thursday.
“That’s my guy, regardless of whatever happens,” Finney-Smith said. “I’m just happy he’s doing good and doing better.
“He’s going to be all right.”
Finney-Smith said he misses the days when he and Smith would work out on their own in an attempt to elevate their game.
“I told him when we play y’all next week I’m still going to have that same edge,” Finney-Smith said. “That’s what we do. We compete.
“We played a lot of one-on-ones. He loves the game just like I do, and we both want to win.”