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Kristaps Porzingis 'Frustrated,' Feeling Like an 'Afterthought' According to ESPN Report

By Stephen Douglas
Jun 7, 2021, 11:06 AM EDT
Kristaps Porzingis contests a shot.
Kristaps Porzingis contests a shot. / Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
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The Dallas Mavericks were eliminated from the playoffs on Sunday with a Game 7 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. Kristaps Porzingis scored 16 points on 12 shots. With Luka Doncic putting up 46, people are looking elsewhere to place blame for the Mavericks' second straight first-round loss and it seems like the focus will fall on Porzingis. By Sunday evening, the first report came out that Porzingis was not happy with how things were going in Dallas.

Here's the full context, via ESPN's Tim MacMahon, who also notes that Porzingis and Doncic "aren't friends":

Porzingis has been frustrated, often feeling more like an afterthought than a co-star as Doncic dominates the ball and the spotlight, sources told ESPN. Porzingis frequently made thinly veiled references during his postgame media availabilities, such as saying the "ball actually moved tonight" after high-scoring performances or stating that the offense didn't involve him on low-scoring nights.

Porzingis scored 20.1 points per game this season on a career-high 47 percent shooting. He averaged more rebounds (8.9) than he did in any of his seasons in New York. He may not look like the same player he was before his 2018 ACL injury, but he's basically putting up the same numbers. The problem is, he hasn't fit with Doncic in a way that vaulted them to the top of the Western Conference. Instead, the Mavericks have been decidedly stuck in the second tier, despite some flashes of elite-ness show in two playoff series they have ended up losing. And the success is Doncic-centric.

Porzingis averaged 13 points and 5 rebounds in the Clippers series and he got paid nearly $30 million to do so. Next season it will be $31 million. The year after it will be $33.8 million and then it's a player-option for $36 million. Seems like a lot for that kind of production, but Karl-Anthony Towns has the same exact deal and hasn't even sniffed the playoffs. Andrew Wiggins and Kevin Love are making similar money, but so are Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid.

So really, there's no telling what you can get for $30 million these days. The really bad news is that the Mavs can't just trade Porzingis. That's a lot of money and teams are much more willing to hand out that contract than obtain it. Obviously, there's no such thing as an untradeable contract in today's NBA, but this one will be tough.

So while the Mavs are stuck with Porzingis for now, at least he's only turning 26 this summer. He's been fairly healthy the last two seasons. He could still get better. Maybe they should just focus on team-building activities this summer because these types of reports are not going away.

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