Mavericks owner Mark Cuban strongly refuted trade rumors surrounding Kristaps Porzingis Tuesday morning, as reports began to surface that Dallas was "sniffing around" to gauge the big man's trade value, according to Bleacher Report's Jake Fischer. It was also reported that the Mavericks have reportedly reached out to the Golden State Warriors to determine their level of interest for a potential Porzingis deal, per SportsNet New York's Ian Begley.
Cuban dismissed the trade rumors surrounding Porzingis, saying "not true," and "we have not discussed him with anyone." The team owner then went on to elaborate on the rumors, which quoted an unnamed Western Conference executive who raised concerns of Porzingis' defense.
"By the way, we are not happy that there is a supposed Western Conference executive ripping on one of our players," Cuban said. "There is no trade discussion. I think they just used it as a way to put out there what they think of KP."
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First off, if a team was trying to "quietly" shop a player as the report suggests, of course they wouldn't come right out and announce it to the public. It also wouldn't be entirely surprising if Dallas was starting to consider the option of dealing the former All-Star. While Porzingis' stats are on par with what he averaged a season ago (20.5 points, 8.2 rebounds), his 3-point shooting has rebounded (35.2 percent) after struggling mightily in his return from meniscus surgery this season. Still, the issue that always remains with him is his health.
Porzingis has had 13 injuries since entering the league in 2015, including an ACL tear that sidelined him for a season and a half before being traded to Dallas. He also suffered a meniscus tear in the postseason last year that kept him out of the Mavs' final three games against the Clippers in the first round.
When healthy, he's proven to be an offensive powerhouse for Dallas. He can knock down long-range 3s, and his pick-and-roll game with Doncic was reaching lethal levels toward the end of last season. But Porzingis has only played in 60 or more games in his career twice, and if Dallas can't count on him to stay healthy then it begs the question of how useful he can actually be to a Mavericks team that is trying to build a championship contender around Doncic.
It also doesn't help that the Mavericks actually perform better when Porzingis is not on the floor, especially on defense. The Mavericks allow 11 fewer points per possession on defense without him on the court this season, and score 4.3 points more per possession on offense when he's on the bench. Since he's returned from his meniscus surgery, he hasn't looked 100 percent and looks out of sorts on defense, as he struggles to get into a proper stance and often moves like he's stuck in sand.
If the Mavericks are indeed starting to poke around on possibly trading him, what can they realistically get for Porzingis. He's in Year 2 of a five-year, $158 million contract, with a lengthy injury history that will make any team extra cautious in what its giving up for him. Dallas has invested far too much in Porzingis to ship him off this soon. While no trade of the former All-Star is imminent -- and according to Cuban its not even being discussed -- this is still something worth monitoring even past the trade deadline as the Mavericks think of what their long-term future with Porzingis looks like.
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