When the New York Knicks and the Dallas Mavericks made the blockbuster trade back in 2019, in which Kristaps Porzingis and Tim Hardaway Jr. went to Dallas in exchange for Dennis Smith Jr., Wesley Matthews, Deandre Jordan, and a couple of first-rounders, everybody raved about the new, young and dynamic duo of Dončić and Porzingis. Luka has done his part and became one of the best players in the NBA, while KP has fallen off dramatically on the other side.
Tim Hardaway Jr. was vastly underlooked in that trade, as fans viewed him as a simple throw-in to make the numbers work. But his father and former NBA player Tim Hardaway Sr. shared his frustrations about the people's perception of that trade, saying how Porzingis was actually the throw-in:
"Y'all wrong, the conversation was they were trying to get Tim here. I'm serious. I'm going to tell you the truth. Dallas wanted to get Tim. Now everybody is saying that Tim Hardaway Jr. was a throw-in. No, Porziņģis was a throw-in. Because they (Mavs) called for Tim Hardaway Jr., and they were going to make a deal for Tim Hardaway Jr., and so it happened that the Knicks didn't want Porzingis anymore because of what he demanded. So when, people say Tim Hardaway Jr. was a throw-in that pisses me off because nobody knows what really happened."
Tim Hardaway, 105.3 The FAN
It seems unlikely that the Mavericks called about Hardaway Jr. when Porzingis was looking like a potential superstar in the making, but it makes some sense. Porzingis wasn't really shopped around - the trade came out of nowhere. Now, as the Mavericks got bounced out in Game 7 after a wild series versus the Clippers, it is fascinating to see Tim become the second-best player on that team and the best help Luka could get. At the same time, Porzingis majorly disappointed and became just a regular starter on that team.
Hardaway had a good season, averaging 16.6 ppg, 3.3 rpg, and 1.8 apg, on 39.1% from three-point land, maintaining those numbers in the playoffs and significantly increasing his percentages. On the other side, Porzingis has struggled to stay on the floor through the whole season, and he disappeared versus the Clippers, averaging 13.1ppg and 5.4 rpg, shooting 47.2% on only 10.3 shots per game, and shying away from the spotlight.
Throughout the series, Luka was terrific, carrying the Mavericks to being inches away from upsetting the favored Clippers. He only needs one more guy to step up and bring offensive firepower, but Porzingis failed to be that guy, and Hardaway Jr. stepped up and almost helped him get through. Dallas fans became irate with KP due to him standing on the three-point line for a significant part of the game instead of using his size and being more active on the floor.
As his relationship with Dončić has been talked about and not on the best level, combined with this disappointing playoff performance, the question arises could Porzingis be on the outs of Dallas. That very well could be the best solution for both sides, as Luka needs a better sidekick and Kristaps need a change of scenery. In conclusion, maybe Tim Hardaway Sr. wasn't wrong in his statements, as his son is more likely to be a crucial part of this Mavericks team in the future than "The Unicorn."
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