Ian Begley, SNY.tv | Twitter |
In an interview with WFAN's Moose and Maggie on Wednesday, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said he was stunned when former Knick Kristaps Porzingis was made available via trade in 2019.
"Very (shocked). It happens in the NBA," Cuban said in the interview.
"It's like the James Harden trade. James Harden got traded from OKC to the Rockets and I'm like, 'Damn, why didn't we even get that offered to us? We weren't in the mix, nobody was. It was Just like one phone call and the Rockets said, 'Yes.' And this was our phone call."
Cuban said the Knicks and Mavs had informal conversations about Porzingis prior to the trade, which is common among teams and GMs, but he didn't think it would ever become a reality.
"GMs talk all the time. It was always, 'We're willing to do this, this and this, if you ever want to give him up. No we're not going to give him up. Just like we used to get calls about Dirk all the time. 'Hey, if you guys will trade Dirk, we'll give you A, B, C, D and F. We're like, 'No, we're not trading Dirk ever.' In this particular case, they changed their mind."
New York traded Porzingis, upon his request, in an effort to open up enough cap space for two max players. The club hoped to sign Kevin Durant and another max star. That didn't work out and the Porzingis trade, to date, has been a lopsided trade in favor of the Mavs.
Team president Steve Mills was reassigned after the Knicks struggled this season in the aftermath of the trade.
Cuban said he's been very happy with Porzingis thus far.
"He's an otherworldly talent. He works hard, he's committed to the team," Cuban said. "I think it's like a lot of jobs for anybody, not just in sports. You go into that first job after you get out of school or you go into your first job, wherever your circumstances are, and you adapt in one way and you see things and then you get to a different set of circumstances and you just have a different perspective. I think KP just needed a change of scenery and he's been phenomenal. Just incredible to have on the team. He's fun, he's funny. He's just a good guy."
Cuban added that former Knick Tim Hardaway Jr. has been vital for Dallas.
"Don't sleep on Timmy Hardaway Jr. Timmy has been the biggest surprise," Cuban said. "We knew Porzingis was good, but Timmy, now he's just catch-and-shoot has been lights out. Quickest release in the NBA. Probably one of the top-3 catch-and-shoot players in all of the NBA now. It took a little while (for him to get acclimated). The previous season, Right after the trade, he wasn't quite confident of his role and we were asking him to do different things than the Knicks did. But with Luka getting him the ball, it's just a sight to see. As much as we love KP, Courtney, etc, getting Timmy has really been a great step for us."
CUBAN OPTIMISTIC SEASON WILL RETURN
Cuban expressed optimism that the NBA will resume its season and didn't dismiss the possibility of playing regular season games. But the owner cautioned that it's imperative for the NBA not to take tests away from those who need them if they resume the year.
"We've got to make sure that we're not taking things away from everyday people, non-athletes, who need tests. Or need whatever is necessary. That's, I think, a lot of owners' biggest concerns," Cuban said. "If not everybody can get a test, we don't want to be in a position where we're taking tests away from those people for NBA players and essential personnel. Once tests are readily available, I think the quality of the tests are good enough that if we're in a quarantine environment, we can make it all work. But we've just got to get to the point where tests are readily available for everybody."