Mavs’ Nico Harrison: ‘I don’t think we’re scared of anybody’

The Dallas Mavericks acquired guard Spencer Dinwiddie and forward Dāvis Bertāns from the Washington Wizards in exchange for forward/center Kristaps Porzingis and a protected 2022 second-round pick before Thursday’s trade deadline.

The 26-year-old Porzingis, who was acquired by the Mavs in 2019 from the Knicks, had a hard time staying on the court in Dallas.

Since joining the Mavs, Porzingis played in 134 out of a possible 209 regular-season games, and he’s missed 21 of a possible 55 games this season. Porzingis has missed the last five games due to a bone bruise in his knee.

When he was on the court, he played well as he averaged 20.0 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks during his time with Dallas.

“He(Porzingis) went through a lot with the injuries,” said Luka Doncic, who had a career-high 51 points Thursday night in the win over the Clippers. “I think this year he was way better. NBA is a business; I wish him all the best in the future.”

After Dallas’ win over the Clippers, Mavs GM Nico Harrison explained why the team traded Porzingis.

“I think it wasn’t just about [Kristaps Porzingis],” he said. “It was about really giving ourselves the flexibility that we need to be the team that we want to be. I think that’s really the bottom line. We were able to give ourselves more flexibility and then add more depth.”

According to Harrison, injuries were not a concern when it came to Porzingis:

“I think it was less about his availability and really more about ‘how do we make the team better.'” Harrison said. “Listen, I think if you look at [Kristaps Porzingis’ injuries], they were knick-knack injuries. If it was the playoffs, he could have played. They were stuff that, during the season, you might sit out, but in the playoffs, he would have played. I don’t think they were a concern.”

In the end, Harrison believes Dallas(33-23), who are 17-5 in their last 22 games, can compete with anybody.

“I think we’re good enough to compete,” he said. “I don’t think we’re scared of anybody. I think we’re good enough to compete. It remains to be seen. I also think we also have room for improvement, but I do like the team.”

Porzingis, who signed a five-year, $158 million deal with the Mavs in 2019. has three years and $101 million left on his contract, but he can opt out after the 2023 season.

The 28-year-old Dinwiddie, who signed a three-year, $60 million deal with the Wizards after a sign-and-trade with Brooklyn this summer, has struggled at times this season. In 44 games, he’s averaging 12.6 points, a career-high 4.7 rebounds, and 5.8 assists. Dallas does not know what will happen with Jalen Brunson, who can become an unrestricted free agent in the summer, so Dinwiddie does give them another guard just in case Brunson decides to go elsewhere.

Regarding Bertans, he has one of the worst contracts in basketball as he has three years and $49 million left on his deal. In 34 games, the 29-year-old is averaging 5.7 points and 1.8 rebounds in 14.7 minutes. Bertans can shoot, and with Doncic, it’s good to have shooting. 

Dallas tried to form a dynamic duo with Doncic and Porzingis. Unfortunately, one was a lot more available than the other. Now, Porzingis has an opportunity to change the narrative about his career, and the Wizards can try to c0nvince Bradley Beal to stay around in Washington.



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