Dennis Smith Jr. and Kristaps Porzingis

Dallas Mavericks guard Dennis Smith Jr. was dealt to the Knicks for injured forward/center Kristaps Porzingis. The Knicks passed on Smith to draft Frank Ntilikina in 2017.

Trade deadline tracker:

Dallas Mavericks send Harrison Barnes to the Sacramento Kings in exchange for Justin Jackson and Zach Randolph

Washington Wizards send Otto Porter Jr. to the Chicago Bulls for Bobby Portis and Jabari Parker.

Wizards send Markieff Morris to the New Orleans Pelicans for Wesley Johnson.

Memphis Grizzlies send Marc Gasol to the Toronto Raptors for Jonas Valanciunas, Delon Wright, CJ Miles and a future second-round pick.

Pelicans send  Nikola Mirotic to the Milwaukee Bucks for Jason Smith, Stanley Johnson and four second round picks.


Last week, Anthony Davis set the tone for what is proving to be another frantic and frenzied NBA trade deadline.  At press time, Davis is still a member of the New Orleans Pelicans. However, a reasonable chance exists that the six-time All-Star will have a new zip code by the time 2 p.m. (CST) Thursday.

LeBron James Magic Johnson and the Los Angeles Lakers wasted no time making a move to go all-in on acquiring Davis.

According to Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times, “the Lakers agreed to send their entire young core of Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and Ivica Zubac to the Pelicans, as well as veteran guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.”

The Lakers also included two future first-round draft picks in its offer. In return, the Lakers would receive Davis, Solomon Hill (who has one year and $12.7M remaining on his contract after this season) and whatever players the Pelicans needed to move to make the cap numbers work.

Many sportswriters dubbed the package as “The Godfather” offer, insinuating that it is one that the Pelicans cannot refuse. So far, that characterization has not proven to be inaccurate. The Pelicans have done just that – refused.

Turner reported that the Pelicans demanded a whopping six-to-eight draft picks to move Davis to Los Angeles. That type of demand could signal that the Pelicans are not serious about moving “AD” before the deadline. The team could intend to hold onto Davis until the offseason when the Boston Celtics can jump into the conversation and offer guys like Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown

On the other hand, the team has stated it will keep Davis on the bench until after the trade deadline.It’s possible the outrageous demand is just a negotiation flex by New Orleans to ensure that it can extract every ounce of value out of the Lakers, or any other team, for the MVP-caliber player.

Enough about Davis and his potential trade, considering negotiations can either drag on for another day or another year. Let’s dive into the impactful deals that have actually happened.

Knicks trade The Unicorn

New York Knicks send Kristaps Porzingis, Tim Hardaway Jr., Trey Burke and Courtney Lee to the Dallas Mavericks for Dennis Smith Jr., DeAndre Jordan, Wesley Matthews and two future first-round picks.

The New York Knicks front office has long been the laughingstock of the NBA. After the deal was announced, the franchise was widely clowned on social media.

On paper, the deal is not terrible. While Porzingis is potentially a “franchise player,” the 7-foot-3 forward/center has suffered numerous injuries in his short career, including a torn ACL that has kept him out since last Feb.  It is unlikely he will play at all this season.

Unfortunately for the Knicks, basketball isn’t played on paper. Even if it were, when it comes to New York, you must read the fine print.

Jordan and Matthews equate to cap space as they will both be unrestricted free agents at the end of the season. If the Knicks coveted Smith so much, the team should have drafted him in 2017 when it had the chance. Smith was passed over for Ntilikina.

It should have been clear to anybody with working eyes that Smith’s talent was leaps and bounds above Ntilikina’s. Now it has been proven. After a year and a half in the league, Smith has averaged 14.5 points, and 4.9 assists versus Ntilikina’s averages of 5.9 points and 3.1 assists.

Now the Knicks essentially have dealt a franchise player for a draft mulligan. The move is a blessing for Smith Jr. Outside the shadow of Doncic, the high-flying PG should get an opportunity to cook in NY.

For the trade to be a success for the Knicks though, several things must happen. First, the Knicks must land the top pick in the 2019 NBA Draft so the franchise can select Zion Williamson. Secondly, the organization must sign two superstar players in free agency (or sign-and-trade) from the following pool: Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Kawhi Leonard and Klay Thompson.

That seems highly unlikely considering the Knicks strike out more than Giancarlo Stanton.

For the Mavs, the deal was a no-brainer. The team was not going to re-sign Jordan or Matthews. Smith did not gel well on the court with the future Euro-GOAT Luka Doncic. Assuming that Porzingis is not damaged goods, pairing “The Unicorn” with Doncic could give the Mavs formidable cornerstones for years to come.

Sixers add Harris

The Los Angeles Clippers send Tobias Harris, Boban Marjanovic and Mike Scott to the Philadelphia 76ers for Landry Shamet, Wilson Chandler, Mike Muscala, two future first-round picks and two future second-round picks.

Philadelphia is clearly not happy sitting behind Milwaukee, Toronto, Boston and Indiana in the Eastern Conference standings as we approach the All-Star Break. So the team made a splashy move to acquire Harris from the Clippers.

Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris

Tobias Harris (right) will Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers after being traded just one day before the NBA trade deadline. Harris earned All-Star consideration this season and will join a star-studded lineup in Philly.

Harris received plenty of buzz as a potential All-Star this season, though he ultimately fell short of making the cut. Still, the 76ers added a player averaging 20.9 points and 7.9 rebounds per game without giving away any immediately impactful players.

Harris will join a talented starting lineup alongside: All-Stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons; former All-Star Jimmy Butler; and three-point shooting dynamo J.J. Redick. Speaking of three-point shooting, the 26-year-old Harris is knocking down the deep ball at a career high 43.4 percent this season.

Similar to the front office in NY, the Clippers brass decided to cross their fingers and hope for the best when it comes to free agency and the draft. Leonard reportedly has strong interest in signing with the Clippers in the offseason, but it’s far from a sure thing.

However, even with Harris, the Clippers best outlook for this season was a #8 playoff seed and a spanking by way of the Golden State Warriors. Considering that Harris will become a free agent at the end of the season, the move made sense for Los Angeles.

Other completed deals

The Milwaukee Bucks send Thon Maker to the Detroit Pistons for Stanley Johnson.

The Pistons send Reggie Bullock to the Los Angeles Lakers for Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk and a second-round pick.

The Cleveland Cavaliers send Rodney Hood to the Portland Trail Blazers for Nik Stauskas, Wade Balwin IV and two second-round picks.

To keep up with the latest deadline deals in the NBA, be sure to check In the Clutch online and also follow Ishmael on Twitter @ishcreates. Subscribe to The St. Louis American’s YouTube page to see weekly sports videos starring Ishmael and Melvin Moore at youtube.com/stlamericanvideo.

Ishmael H. Sistrunk is a columnist and the website coordinator for the St. Louis American and www.stlamerican.com.

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