The first significant trade of the NBA draft deadline happened Thursday when the New York Knicks sent Kristaps Porzingis and a few hefty contracts to the Dallas Mavericks for Dennis Smith Jr., expiring contracts and two first-round draft picks.
Before getting into how this affects both teams from an NBA betting perspective, it’s important to note that the Knicks didn’t have a lot of options. Porzingis reportedly told the team he was disgruntled and had no intention of re-signing with them next season.
He was going to play on a one-year qualifying offer next season instead of taking the roughly $150 million the Knicks could have offered. That would have allowed him to become an unrestricted free agent in 2020. So, the Knicks moved quickly, freeing up enough cap space in the deal to be able to offer two max contracts to free agents this summer, presumably Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
Betting Impact on Mavericks
For the Mavericks, they get to pair Porzingis – who is still out recovering from ACL surgery – with expected Rookie of the Year Luka Doncic for the rest of this season and the 2019-2020 season. They get a year to convince Porzingis to re-sign in Dallas and form an absurdly good and young duo in the West.
Speaking of Doncic, this won’t have any impact on his Rookie of the Year candidacy. He’s running away with the award.
And while the Mavericks certainly get worse in the deal – Porzingis is still weeks away from a return and Dennis Smith Jr., DeAndre Jordan and Wes Matthews went to New York in the deal – it won’t be enough to keep Doncic from cruising to a win.
He’s averaging 20.4 points, 6.9 rebounds and 5.4 assists, numbers that have never before been done by a teenager. The only rookies to reach those numbers were Michael Jordan and Oscar Robertson. So, yes, his -10000 odds in NBA rookie of the Year betting are rather safe.
The Mavericks aren’t gutted by the deal but they take a step back, too. Doncic didn’t play in Thursday’s game against the Pistons but it was still telling that Dallas lost at home to a struggling Pistons team. Dallas is 5-0-1 against the spread in their last six but February features a difficult stretch in the schedule.
Doncic is the real deal and Hardaway will make up for some scoring left by Matthews, but Dallas likely takes a step back after this deal. They may see a slight bump when Porzingis returns, which could happen sometime in March.
Betting Impact on the Knicks
In the short-term, the Knicks have improved on paper. They dealt an injured Porzingis, Tim Hardaway, Courtney Lee and Trey Burke and received Smith, Jordan and Matthews. That’s a positive.
But in reality they’re still in tank mode, sitting at 10-40 and a real chance to secure a player like Zion Williamson in addition to those two max free agents. Jordan and Matthews are buyout candidates, and while Smith has potential as the point guard of the future he hasn’t really played that well this season.
The Knicks have lost 19 of their last 20 games and are 8-12 against the spread in that span. They aren’t going to be any more competitive knowing what’s at stake with NBA Lottery odds. Don’t be fooled by the players they received in the deal.
More losses, and non-competitive ones at that, are on the way.