The blame game began as soon as the Los Angeles Clippers eliminated the Dallas Mavericks from the playoffs. First there were questions about Rick Carlisle, which were quickly quieted by Mark Cuban. Then the grumblings started coming from Kristaps Porzingis. ESPN's Tim MacMahon reported that Porzingis is frustrated in Luka Doncic's shadow:
But Porzingis has been frustrated, often feeling more like an afterthought than a co-star as Doncic dominates the ball and the spotlight, sources told ESPN. Porzingis frequently made thinly veiled references during his postgame media availabilities, such as saying the "ball actually moved tonight" after high-scoring performances or stating that the offense didn't involve him on low-scoring nights.
If the Kings are interested in a big roster shakeup, as is expected, chasing a big name who has underperformed is the most likely way to do it. And Porzingis can be frustrated and blame others, but he's underperformed expectations. When the Mavericks traded for Zinger, he was supposed to be the second star next to Doncic. If he doesn't feel like a second star, it's likely because he hasn't played like one.
Yet Porzingis does remain productive, even if he isn't the player he's was expected to be. Porzingis finished this year with averages of 20.1 points, 8.9 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.3 blocks per game.
The eye test suggest there might be a little Whiteside in those numbers, though. Despite filling the stat sheet, there's a lot of frustration among Mavs fans, and a lot of skepticism from anyone who watches many Dallas games.
But a hypothetical trade of Buddy Hield and Marvin Bagley for Porzingis works under the cap. There are other permutations that work as well. Buddy Hield could provide shooting around Doncic, which the Mavericks have been looking for. I'm not the fake-trade guru, as I often have trouble figuring out what each team might want or value, but the framework of a deal to bring Porzingis to Sacramento is easy enough.
If the Kings are looking to add talented players who are potentially undervalued, Porzingis could be an option worth looking at. In the end, if the Kings acquire Porzingis I'd be happy or angry abased only on what they gave up. Buddy and Bagley? Sure, I'm in. Buddy, Bagley and this year's first? I'm a lot less happy.
But that's just me. What do you think? Would you want to see the Kings trade for Kristaps Porzingis?