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#pounditFriday, July 30, 2021

Kristaps Porzingis

Mark Cuban thinks Kristaps Porzingis has been ‘unfairly’ criticized

Kristaps Porzingis

While his stance on other mythical creatures is unclear, Mark Cuban still very much believes in The Unicorn.

The Dallas Mavericks owner spoke with reporters this week and defended big man Kristaps Porzingis, who received heavy criticism amid the team’s first-round playoff exit this season.

“I think [Porzingis] has been unfairly maligned,” said Cuban, per Tim Cato of The Athletic. “He did exactly what was asked of him in the postseason.”

The former All-Star Porzingis did still manage to flirt with a 20-10 average during the regular season. But his poor fit in the offense became apparent in the playoffs, as his numbers dipped to just 13.1 points per game on subpar shooting splits of 47.2 percent from the field and 29.6 percent from three. Porzingis didn’t help his case either by often appearing to be disengaged on both ends of the floor.

Cuban seems to be hinting however that Porzingis’ diminished production may have been the result of the Mavs’ postseason gameplan against the LA Clippers. In any case, Porzingis will have a new head coach in Jason Kidd to work with next season. He also seems determined to silence all the critics.

Luka Doncic was not happy with Kristaps Porzingis over strip club visit

Kristaps Porzingis

Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis have been teammates the last two seasons, and the two apparently have some issues.

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said in a radio interview in April that Doncic and Porzingis get along fine on the court but have different interests off of it. Porzingis denied having any issues with Doncic. But apparently Luka had some problems recently.

Porzingis was fined $50,000 by the NBA for attending an unspecified type of club on May 23. That apparently was a visit to a Los Angeles strip club during the Mavericks’ playoff series with the Clippers.

Mavs insider Mike Fisher says Doncic was bothered by Porzingis’ violation.

Fisher added that some Mavericks players find Porzingis’ behavior to be unprofessional too frequently.

Porzingis is only 25 but has been in the league since 2015. He has made one All-Star team but been bothered by injuries during his career. The Mavericks were hoping that acquiring him would give them a lethal pairing with Doncic. So far, that hasn’t quite worked out as hoped.

Kristaps Porzingis appears to respond to critics with social media post

Kristaps Porzingis

Kristaps Porzingis seems to have a message for all those who piled on him this season.

The Dallas Mavericks big man took to Instagram on Saturday to write a message that appeared to be addressed to his haters.

“Going into this offseason with a chip on my shoulder and I’m going to use all this noise to fuel me even more,” Porzingis wrote. “Only focused on what I can control and thats grinding to be better each and every day. I’ll keep smiling and enjoying the process through everything. Thankful for the love and support. [Unicorn] 2.0 incoming.”

The 25-year-old Porzingis’ numbers (20.1 points and 8.9 rebounds a game) actually did not look all that bad this season. But he often seemed like an afterthought in the Mavs’ gameplan, especially in their first-round loss to the LA Clippers where Porzingis was almost invisible. The former All-Star also drew criticisms for playing like a 7-foot-3 shooting guard who floated around aimlessly on the perimeter on offense and did not protect the interior sufficiently on defense.

The latest report we heard was that Porzingis allegedly feels frustrated with his role in Dallas. But it sounds like he is determined to turn things around next season, whether with the Mavs or another team.

Donnie Nelson has interesting take on Doncic-Porzingis dynamic

Luka Doncic

The Dallas Mavericks are facing new questions about whether Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis can coexist after their playoff exit. General manager Donnie Nelson has an interesting theory on why he still thinks it can work.

Nelson said Monday that part of the issue is Doncic’s maturation process into a superstar, and figuring out how and when to use his teammates around him. Nelson essentially believes that Porzingis and other Mavericks players will adapt to Doncic, and Doncic will learn when to get them more involved.

It’s an interesting bet, but the pieces didn’t look close to working against the Clippers. Porzingis averaged only 13.1 points per game in the series, and his perimeter game was nonexistent.

Doncic can certainly work with complementary players. Tim Hardaway Jr. had some excellent moments against the Clippers, for instance. Porzingis just doesn’t seem to fit, and it doesn’t sound like he’s happy, either. It may be best for the Mavericks to end that experiment and rework the roster to suit Doncic better.

Kristaps Porzingis reportedly frustrated with his role in Dallas

Kristaps Porzingis

The Dallas Mavericks reportedly tested the trade market for Kristaps Porzingis back in February, and they may have to do that again this summer.

The Mavericks hoped Porzingis and Luka Doncic would become the dynamic duo at the center of a championship caliber roster when they acquired the 7-foot-3 center in a trade with the New York Knicks, but that scenario has not materialized. Instead, there have been indications that the relationship between Porzingis and Doncic is icy. After the Mavericks lost Game 7 of their opening-round playoff series against the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday, Tim MacMahon published a story that calls into question Porzingis’ future in Dallas.

According to MacMahon, Porzingis has been frustrated with his role with the Mavericks. Rather than a 1B to Doncic’s 1A, the former No. 4 overall pick reportedly feels like an “afterthought.”

MacMahon noted that Porzingis hinted at his frustrations during postgame interviews late in the 2020-21 season. He has said things like the “ball actually moved tonight” and expressed confusion at being ignored late in games in which he had been playing well.

Porzingis played in just 43 games this season after recovering from a partially torn meniscus he suffered in the playoffs last year. Teams have reportedly felt that the latest injury and his 2019 torn ACL have limited his mobility and made him a liability on defense. That could make it difficult for the Mavericks to trade Porzingis, as MacMahon notes that teams do not view the $101.5 million he is owed over the next three seasons as a good value.

Mavs owner Mark Cuban made a surprising remark back in April that hinted at some issues between Porzingis and Doncic. Porzingis downplayed that, and it’s possible he has more of a problem with the situation than Doncic himself. Either way, you have to wonder if he will ask Dallas to move him this offseason.

Kristaps Porzingis fined $50,000 for visiting club

Kristaps Porzingis

Kristaps Porzingis was fined $50,000 for visiting a club in violation of the NBA’s rules, the league announced on Tuesday.

Porzingis attended a club on Sunday, which violates a rule prohibiting players from attending bars, clubs, or similar establishments.

Porzingis was not forced to quarantine because it was determined he did not medically put anyone at risk for spreading COVID-19.

Many will ask why Porzingis was fined while LeBron James was not. The league addressed that matter and shared differences in the respective situations.

The league may offer its best explanations for the differences, but we all know the real reason why there was no discipline for James.

Kristaps Porzingis denies having any issues with Luka Doncic

Kristaps Porzingis

Kristaps Porzingis wants you to know he is not trading zingers with anyone.

In a recent interview with Spanish outlet Radio Marca, the Dallas Mavericks big man denied rumors that he has had issues with teammate Luka Doncic.

“I’ve never had any problems with my teammates off the court,” Porzingis said, per Sports Illustrated. “I’ve always gotten along very well with them. I don’t know what [Mavs owner Mark] Cuban was talking about. I try to be as professional as possible. Do what I have to do and be a soldier for the team.”

As Porzingis hinted at, Cuban recently poured fuel on the fire by saying that Doncic and Porzingis have had some “dust-ups.” The two star teammates have also been an underwhelming fit on the court ever since they joined forces. That has led to even further skepticism about their partnership.

The ex-All-Star Porzingis has even recently been the subject of trade rumors. Thus, this may be his way of trying to put out the blaze a bit.

Mark Cuban has interesting quote about Doncic-Porzingis relationship

Mark Cuban

The Dallas Mavericks hoped they were putting together a superstar duo when they put Kristaps Porzingis and Luka Doncic together. While the pair haven’t been bad, the fit both on and off the court clearly hasn’t been seamless.

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban admitted Thursday in an appearance on 105.3 The Fan’s “K&C Masterpiece” that there are some “dust-ups” between Doncic and Porzingis, but it’s not something that worries Cuban.

“On the court they are fine,” Cuban said, via Mike Fisher of SI. “That’s not to say their aren’t dust-ups, because there are. I’d compare it to Jet and Dirk.”

Cuban remembered that 16 years ago, he paired point guard Jason Terry with star Dirk Nowitzki. The two initially did not get along at all, but ultimately won a title together and became good friends.

“Coaches coach, and coach (Rick Carlisle) kind of runs the show,” Cuban added. “So everything gets worked out on the court. … KP and Luka get along fine. It’s just that they’re different people. They like to do different things.”

It’s not necessarily a problem if Doncic and Porzingis aren’t close. Combined, they’re averaging 49.1 points and 17.3 rebounds per game for the Mavericks, who are in the running for a play-in spot at the moment. On the other hand, there are reports that the team has checked in on the trade value of one of them. In the end, it may not be a marriage that works long-term.

Video: Kristaps Porzingis pushes Moe Harkless during confrontation

Kristaps Porzingis Moe Harkless

Kristaps Porzingis shoved Moe Harkless during a confrontation between the men on Sunday night.

Porzingis’ Dallas Mavericks had the ball in the third quarter against Harkless’ Sacramento Kings. Porzingis set a screen and then rolled down low to the post, where he was guarded by Harkless. Porzingis was calling for the ball because of the height mismatch, but Harkless nudged him before the ball arrived, causing the ball to go out of bounds.

Harkless appeared to say something to Porzingis. Porzingis then got in his opponent’s face and shoved Harkless.

The two were charged for double technical fouls for the play.

Sacramento was leading by 17 at the time of the incident and held on to their lead for the 121-107 victory. Porzingis only had nine points on 3/14 shooting. Harkless had eight points on 2/8 shooting.

Knicks legend appears to take swipe at Kristaps Porzingis

Kristaps Porzingis

Over two years later, it is actually starting to seem like the New York Knicks may have won the Kristaps Porzingis trade. Knicks legend Earl “The Pearl” Monroe certainly appears to agree.

The 76-year-old Basketball Hall of Famer Monroe tweeted an observation this week about the former Knick Porzingis. Monroe said it looked like Porzingis went from being a franchise player with the Knicks to a “functional skilled big” with the Dallas Mavericks.

Porzingis, 25, tore his ACL in 2018 when he was still with the Knicks and indeed has yet to fully recapture his All-Star form ever since. He continues to sit out on occasion to manage his surgically-repaired knee and has missed time with other unrelated issues as well. In fairness to Porzingis though, he does not need to be Dallas’ franchise player with superstar teammate Luka Doncic running the show.

As for the Knicks, the Porzingis trade helped them press the reset button and build around a new core of young players. It also opened up cap space for players like Julius Randle. Now the Knicks have a winning record and look poised to make their first playoff appearance in nearly a decade.

Porzingis’ time in New York did come to a rather messy end. With how well the team is playing now, there are probably very Knicks fans who regret making that trade.