Traded once by the Knicks, Kristaps Porzingis could be on the move again only two years later.
Porzingis has been the subject of trade speculation ahead of the NBA trade deadline on March 25, despite having signed a five-year, $158 million max contract with the Mavericks in 2019.
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and coach Rick Carlisle have emphatically denied reports the team is looking to deal the oft-injured Porzingis.
As for Porzingis, “it is what it is,” he said after Friday’s practice. “I don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes, and I shouldn’t be too worried about it. It can only distract me at the end of the day. I try to focus on being in the moment, being here day to day and putting in the work with my teammates and getting better as a basketball player.”
The 25-year-old Porzingis is expected to return from a three-game absence due to lower back stiffness to face the Nets in Brooklyn on Saturday. It would mark just his second game in New York since the Knicks traded him in January 2019.
“I just haven’t had the best luck,” Porzingis said. “I’m working toward making sure my body is strong and durable and I can just play without thinking about anything, without worrying. Just being free and enjoying the game I love.”
Porzingis is averaging 22.8 points on 50 percent shooting from the field and 42.3 percent from 3-point range in eight games this month, but he has struggled on the defensive end of the floor.
“At the end it’s a business,” Porzingis said of the trade rumblings, “and I don’t know what’s going on.”
Bleacher Report recently cited unnamed league sources saying the Mavericks quietly reached out to gauge Porzingis’ trade market.
“There have been no discussions about KP with any team,” Cuban told DallasBasketball.com “We have not discussed him in a trade at all.”
He added, “Whoever this person is they quoted, obviously was more interested in talking sh– about one of our players publicly. And that is not acceptable.”