Mark Cuban Talks Kristaps Porzingis Trade, Compares It to James Harden Deal

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistMay 21, 2020

Dallas Mavericks forward Kristaps Porzingis (6) during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Sacramento Kings, Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2020, in Dallas. Dallas won 130-111. (AP Photo/Brandon Wade)
Brandon Wade/Associated Press

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was as surprised as anyone when the New York Knicks agreed to trade Kristaps Porzingis in January 2019. 

Appearing on WFAN's Moose & Maggie on Wednesday, Cuban made the analogy between the Porzingis trade and when the Oklahoma City Thunder dealt James Harden to the Houston Rockets. 

"It happens in the NBA," he said. "It's like the James Harden trade. Harden gets traded from OKC to the Rockets and I'm like, damn, why didn't we even get that offered to us? We weren't in the mix. Nobody was. It was one phone call and the Rockets said yes. [The Porzingis trade] was our one phone call."

Cuban provided more details of the discussion with the Knicks: "'We're willing to do this if you ever want to give him up.' ... We used to get calls on Dirk [Nowitzki], 'We'll give you A, B, C, D, E and F,' but we're not trading Dirk ever. [They said], 'Well, if you do...' In this case, [the Knicks] changed their mind."

The Knicks drafted Porzingis No. 4 overall in 2015 with the hope he would become a franchise player and lead them back to prominence in the Eastern Conference. 

Porzingis showed tremendous promise during his tenure in New York. The Latvian star averaged 17.8 points and 7.1 rebounds per game with a 36.1 three-point percentage in 186 games from 2015 to '18. 

Injuries did slow down Porzingis' development, though. He missed 60 games in his first three seasons and sat out the entire 2018-19 season rehabbing from a torn ACL suffered on Feb. 6, 2018. 

Per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Zach Lowe and Ramona Shelburne, Porzingis met with Knicks management on Jan. 31, 2019, to express his concern with the direction of the franchise, past dysfunction and uncertainty about them being able to build a roster that could have sustainable success. 

Later that same day, New York agreed to send Porzingis, Tim Hardaway Jr., Courtney Lee and Trey Burke to Dallas for Dennis Smith Jr., DeAndre Jordan, Wes Matthews and two first-round draft picks. 

The pairing of Porzingis and Luka Doncic has led Dallas to a 40-27 record this season. The 24-year-old is starting to find his bearings after returning from his knee injury, averaging 19.2 points and 9.5 rebounds in 51 games for the Mavs.