Knicks: Who the Mavs originally wanted in the Kristaps Porzingis trade

Tim Hardaway Sr. reveals who the Dallas Mavericks originally wanted in the Kristaps Porzingis trade.

While many New York Knicks fans have moved on from the Kristaps Porzingis trade, it still marks a turning point for the franchise as the best player the organization has drafted since Patrick Ewing was shipped out of New York before the end of his rookie deal.

Reading all of the reporting about the trade, it seems pretty clear that this was a mutual separation. The Knicks front office under Steve Mills had questions about signing Porzingis to a long-term contract, and the player nicknamed the Unicorn was far from satisfied with the situation unfolding at Madison Square Garden.

The New York Times reported in the days following the fateful deal that Porzingis had demanded a trade in a meeting with the Knicks’ top execs shortly before he was dealt to Dallas. The Knicks went on record to back up this report.

There were several subsequent reports that revealed the Knicks were shopping the Latvian star even before the trade demand.

The Kristaps Porzingis trade started with Tim Hardaway Jr.

Tim Hardaway Sr. says the blockbuster deal started with a player not named Porzingis. In an interview with the Fort Worth Star-Telegraph published on Sunday, Hardaway Sr. claims Dallas originally called the Knicks in hopes of acquiring his son. Once the Knicks put Porzingis on the table, it obviously changed the structure of the deal.

“Dallas called New York first about Tim Hardaway Jr. That was who they wanted. That’s when New York said, ‘What do you think about Porzingis?’” Hardaway Sr. said. “And then they threw Tim in the deal. People are going to say that’s not true to cover their butt, but that’s what I know.”

Dallas owner Mark Cuban recently told WFAN in New York that the Mavs had asked about Porzingis several times before New York finally changed their minds in their willingness to deal the star forward.

The Knicks and Mavericks were playing each other in New York when the trade was negotiated and finalized. Porzingis was traded in January 2019, along with Trey Burke, Courtney Lee, and Tim Hardaway Jr. in exchange for two first round picks, Dennis Smith Jr., and the expiring contracts of DeAndre Jordan and Wesley Matthews.

Next: Revisiting the Kyle Lowry non-trade

On Friday night, Knicks fans were forced to look away from their TVs, as Kristaps Porzingis (39 points), Trey Burke (31 points), and Tim Hardaway Jr. (24 points), combined to score 94 points in a defenseless game against the Houston Rockets in Orlando’s bubble.