Kristaps Porzingis is seen as the biggest obstacle Luka Dončić has to overcome to take the Mavericks to the promised land. The Latvian player is on a max contract playing like a role player, and something’s gotta give. The problem is, the combination of his health concerns, production on the court, and contract make Porzingis a difficult player to move. But there have been rumors about a trade that would make the Mavericks a lot better.
Mavs need to decide KP’s future
KP is Mavs’ highest-paid player, with $101.5 million remaining on his contract in the next three years. While the deal is scary for most teams, there’s one thing we can’t forget about Porzingis – the Latvian star is still young. He’s only 25, and his days of dominating for the Knicks are not that far behind him. Porzingis still has a lot of potential, but the Mavericks obviously aren’t the team to maximize it.
A change of scenery often transforms a players’ career. The Mavericks need to find a team with an obvious ceiling and is willing to roll the dice on Porzingis as someone who can be the foundational player for something more than a decent regular-season team. In come the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Jarrett Allen as KP’s replacement
Even after trading Andre Drummond, The Cavaliers still have a glut of big men. Jarrett Allen, Larry Nance Jr., Kevin Love, Anderson Varejao, Isaac Okoro, and Isaiah Hartenstein are all a part of their frontcourt rotation. A tremendous player, Jarrett Allen obviously isn’t a guy that you can build an offense around like you can around a healthy Porzingis. On the Mavericks, on the other hand, Allen could be what Tyson Chandler was for the Mavs in 2011. That’s why the Allen for Porzingis trade seems to be one of the only possible ones that would make sense for both teams.
“Although it’s just a rumor, we shouldn’t be surprised with the Mavs’ alleged interest in Allen, especially given that a source recently told DallasBasketball.com that there could also be mutual interest between Dallas and Indiana Pacers’ big man, Myles Turner, who is another elite rim protector. Turner led the league with 3.4 blocks per game this season.”Dalton Trigg, Sports Illustrated
In the Allen for Porzingis trade, KP may have the higher upside, but Allen is obviously the better player in the status quo. So how can the Mavericks, who are depleted with assets, make this interesting for the Cavs? They can take someone else off their hands. Kevin Love’s production has dipped in recent years due to injuries and reportedly chemistry issues with starting point guard Collin Sexton. Love is still owed almost $60 million in the next two years, and at 32 years old, it might not be sensible for the Cavs to be paying the former Timberwolves star such a huge salary. KP also has a huge contract, but the potential is still on his side.
For the salaries to work, the Mavericks would probably have to throw in someone like Maxi Kleber. As important as Kleber has been for the Mavs, Jarrett Allen is too good not to include Kleber in the trade. Cleveland would get younger with such a trade, while Mavs can get inside-outside threats with Love and Allen. The tricky part is the contract numbers but what history can tell the fans is that if both teams want to get it done, they can get it done.
Is it realistic?
The Cavs clearly said they consider Allen a core piece going forward, but Porzingis’ upside and the possibility to move on from Kevin Love could be too enticing for the Cavs. Dallas would get a perfect partner for Luka in Allen, and could hope for a Blake Griffin-type renaissance with Love. It’s not likely, but wilder things have happened in the NBA. One thing’s for sure – the Mavs are working hard to move on from Porzingis.
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