Kristaps Porzingis has hinted he envisions a long-term future with the Dallas Mavericks after being unveiled by his new franchise.
Porzingis was acquired last week along with Tim Hardaway Jr., Courtney Lee and Trey Burke in a deal with the New York Knicks that shipped Dennis Smith Jr., Wesley Matthews, DeAndre Jordan and multiple draft picks out of Dallas.
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is excited by the prospect of a lengthy partnership between Porzingis and Luka Doncic, whose play this season has made him favourite for Rookie of the Year.
Porzingis was unveiled alongside Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle on Monday
“Our goal is to keep them together for the next 20 years,” Cuban said on Monday.
When Porzingis, who is set to become a restricted free agent this summer, was asked if he envisioned signing a long-term deal with Dallas, Cuban responded, “I can answer that for you. Yeah, he does.”
Porzingis smiled and said, “We’re on the same page.”
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is confident Porzingis has a long-term future with his franchise
The 23-year-old said he’s well ahead of schedule rehabbing the torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, but he will not play this season.
“I feel great,” Porzingis said, nearly one year removed from reconstructive surgery. “I feel bouncy and I’m ready to get back on the court.”
Porzingis will be a restricted free agent this summer, after the Knicks declined to offer him a rookie extension last offseason. He conceivably could become an unrestricted free agent in July 2020 if he chooses to sign his qualifying offer this summer and decline any extension offers from Dallas.
Rookie Luka Doncic matched his season-best score of 35 points in the Mavericks’ win over the Cavaliers on Saturday night.
The Latvian averaged 22.7 points and 6.6 rebounds per game last season before suffering his injury in early February.
Porzingis refused to address his departure from New York or rumours he was offered first to the New Orleans Pelicans for Anthony Davis, preferring to focus on his new situation.
“We have a great relationship,” Porzingis said of Doncic. “Now that we have an opportunity to play together, I’m really excited about it.”
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