The Dallas Mavericks are expected to offer Kristaps Porzingis a maximum contract, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania. This despite an ACL tear that kept him out all of this past season and a rape accusation that followed him from New York.
The Mavericks will reportedly meet with Porzingis and offer him a five-year, $158 million contract as soon as free agency opens at 6 p.m. ET on June 30. The 7-foot-3 Latvian is a restricted free agent who could command a four-year, $117 million max deal on the open market. The Mavericks could match any offer, but offering him the five-year max at the start of free agency would demonstrate a serious commitment.
Porzingis has not played since Feb. 6, 2018, when he tore his left ACL in a game against the Milwaukee Bucks. He was the 22-year-old face of the New York Knicks at the time — an All-Star, fringe MVP candidate and NBA “unicorn” — stretching the floor on offense (39.5 percent on nearly five 3-point attempts per game) and shrinking it on defense (opponents shot 48.7 percent inside of 6 feet opposite him).
Soon after the Knicks granted his request for a trade, sending him to the Mavericks for Dennis Smith Jr., two first-round picks and expiring contracts, ESPN obtained an alleged hush-money contract and text messages between Porzingis and a woman accusing him of rape, along with emails between the Knicks and his alleged victim. The New York Police Department confirmed an investigation into the matter.
There was some confusion as to what was disclosed before the trade. A report suggesting the Knicks made the allegation known conflicted with the Mavs saying they were informed only of an extortion attempt. Charania’s latest seems to reflect a level of confidence in Dallas that Porzingis will not be found guilty in New York.
His brief tenure in Dallas was also marked by controversy. When video emerged of a bloodied Porzingis outside a nightclub in his hometown of Liepaja, the Mavericks issued a statement saying, “It is our understanding that Kristaps was jumped and assaulted.” Porzingis could also be seen shoving a woman in the post-fight chaos.
The Mavs reportedly investigated the incident and cleared Porzingis of any wrongdoing, with a Dallas Morning News source calling the alleged altercation with Russian gangsters a case of being “in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
With reigning Rookie of the Year Luka Doncic on the roster, a max offer to Porzingis would mean the Mavericks are intent on building a future contender around a pair of the most promising European players of their generation, whatever the cost.
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