NBA

Doncic surprised by Porzingis' Mavs exit but accepts 'it obviously didn't work out'

By Sports Desk February 11, 2022

Luka Doncic felt he and Kristaps Porzingis were "building something great" but accepted "it didn't obviously work out" after his Dallas Mavericks team-mate was traded to the Washington Wizards.

Much was expected of Porzingis, who was acquired in a huge trade with the New York Knicks back in 2019, but the Mavericks opted to move on from the giant former All-Star midway through a $158million contract.

During his time in Dallas, Porzingis averaged 20 points, 8.8 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per games, but injuries restricted him from ever reaching the sort of performance levels he showed in New York.

He arrived while recovering from an ACL injury to his left knee and sustained meniscus damage in his right knee during the playoffs in his first season.

In total, Porzingis played only 134 games, featuring in 34 of 55 this season – a campaign in which he has battled injuries and illness.

Doncic described the trade, which saw the Mavs acquire guard Spencer Dinwiddie and forward Davis Bertans, as "shocking" but accepted the reasons behind it.

"Obviously, we're going to miss KP," Doncic said. "We were building something great here. It didn't obviously work out. 

"I wish him the best, and we've got two new guys who are welcome. Bertans is a great shooter. Dinwiddie can put the ball on the floor, and he can score. The NBA is a business.

"He went through a lot with the injuries. I think this year, he was way better. Like I said, the NBA is a business, and I wish him the best in the future."

Doncic added that he has trust in general manager Nico Harrison and governor Mark Cuban to put together a roster capable of challenging for NBA titles.

"I trust them, whatever move they make," he said. 

"I think I have great team-mates. A lot of people can do a lot of stuff, and I'm really good now. I think we're playing great basketball."

Doncic was speaking after a mightily impressive performance in the Mavs 112-105 win over the Los Angeles Clippers, in which he scored 50 points for the first time in his career.

In total he had 51, shooting 28 in the first quarter, the most by any NBA player in a quarter this season. He went 10-of-13 shooting, making seven of his 10 three-point attempts.

"When you feel like that, you just don't want to be stopped and keep going," Doncic said. 

"All the shots felt good. I missed two threes – even those felt great. They were switching. They didn't want me to create, so I had to go to work."

It was the fifth time in Mavs history a player had a 50-point performance, and Doncic could have tried to tie or break Dirk Nowitzki's franchise record of 53 but opted to dribble out the final play instead of going for the basket.

"You don't shoot that shot," Doncic explained. "It's disrespectful."

With Porzingis having now departed there is even more onus on Doncic to perform for a Mavs side who are fifth in the Western Conference with a 33-23 record.

Head coach Jason Kidd was asked whether his team could contend without a second recognised star on their roster.

"We'll see. I'm the coach who has to put them in a position to be successful, get paid, find a way to win," Kidd said.

"As we go through this journey, we'll see if we come across a number two guy. It could be the team that we have where there is no real second star. You've just got guys who play roles at a very high level. And you've seen teams win championships that way, too."

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