Luka Doncic, Dirk Nowitzki Praise Kristaps Porzingis After Knicks Trade

Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki (41), of Germany, laughs with teammate Luka Doncic (77), of Serbia, during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Sacramento Kings in Dallas, Sunday, Dec. 16, 2018. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

LM Otero/Associated Press

The cornerstones of the Dallas Mavericks are already excited for their new teammate.

After the New York Knicks announced they traded Kristaps Porzingis in a package along with Tim Hardaway Jr., Trey Burke and Courtney Lee to Dallas for DeAndre Jordan, Wesley Matthews, Dennis Smith Jr. and two future first-round draft picks, Mavericks playmakers Dirk Nowitzki and Luka Doncic opened up about the team’s new big man.

“If you have a chance to add a franchise-caliber player like Porzingis you’ve just gotta go for it,” Nowitzki said, per Dan Murphy of ESPN.com. “… He’s mobile enough to play the 4. He can be a spread 5. He can move, block shots, post. Before he got hurt he played a great all-around game. He’s got the work ethic to be great. He’s a good dude.”

Porzingis is set to become a restricted free agent after this season, but the 13-time All-Star thinks he will remain in Dallas.

“We wouldn’t have made the deal if we thought he was going to walk obviously,” Nowitzki said. “… Hopefully he’s going to like what he sees and he’s going to get healthy and play well for us. We’ll go from there.”

Porzingis tweeted video of himself with Doncic after the trade news broke, and the 19-year-old said, “He’s such an amazing player, so this could be a good thing. He’s big, he can shoot, he can rebound, he can do a lot of things. I think he can be one of the best players in this league.”

That Doncic and Nowitzki praised Porzingis so profusely is notable since Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com reported the team believes the pairing will be critical in convincing the big man to sign a long-term deal with the Mavericks during the upcoming offseason.

MacMahon cited a source who said Porzingis loves both players, suggesting that can become a reality.

While he has not played this season with a torn ACL, Porzingis, 23, would give the Mavericks another young building block alongside Doncic. He averaged 22.7 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.4 blocks a night while shooting 39.5 percent from three-point range in 48 games last season and is a matchup nightmare at 7’3″ with the ability to stretch the floor.

Dallas appears on its way to a third straight playoff-less season at 23-28 following Thursday’s loss to the Detroit Pistons, but the future is bright with Doncic and Porzingis in place. Now, all it has to do is sign the latter to a long-term deal.

NBA News

via Bleacher Report – NBA http://bit.ly/2gMI6gF

January 31, 2019 at 10:57PM

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