Sixers, Rockets Can Benefit From Knicks’ Kristaps Porzingis Trade

Joel Embiid Brett Brown

Getty Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid and coach Brett Brown

While the focus of the recent trade between the New York Knicks and Dallas Mavericks has centered on Kristaps Porzingis and Dennis Smith Jr., there are a few other aspects to monitor. One of them is how things play out with guard Wesley Matthews and center DeAndre Jordan who were pieces of the deal.

Matthews has put together a solid career to this point, but his $18.6 million-plus contract was included as a part of the blockbuster trade which moved Porzingis to Dallas. The complete package, which was made official by the Knicks PR team, included seven players and two picks.

*Draft pick details reported by The Athletic’s Michael Scotto.

  • Knicks receive: Dennis Smith Jr., DeAndre Jordan, Wes Matthews, 2021 first-round pick (protected), 2023 first-round pick (protected)
  • Mavericks receive: Kristaps Porzingis, Tim Hardaway Jr., Courtney Lee, Trey Burke

With the Knicks acquiring the expiring deals of both Matthews and Jordan, rumblings pointed to at least the former being a potential buyout candidate. But as ESPN’s Ian Begley reported, the team has also received trade interest in Matthews. If that doesn’t pan out then signs point to a possible buyout.

ESPN’s Bobby Marks did also cite that Jordan could be a buyout candidate as well, bolstering the pool of players potentially available in the near future. If that were to be the case, two teams who come to mind as potential suitors are the Houston Rockets and Philadelphia 76ers.

Sixers & Rockets Could Target Matthews

It’s unknown where the most likely destination for the two players would be if they were able to choose a future destination. But The Athletic’s Alykhan Bijani reported that the Rockets are “actively watching” the situation with Matthews.

Both teams have a major need in terms of wing depth and have battled injuries virtually all season. The addition of Matthews to either the Rockets or Sixers would bolster their depth and overall outlook for a postseason run.

Matthews, 32, has averaged 13.1 points while playing 29.8 minutes per over 44 games this season. He provides decent 3-point shooting (over 38 percent the past two seasons), along with a solid defensive presence. There would likely be more than just these two teams interested in the veteran guard as well.

DeAndre Jordan’s Potential Fit

With Joel Embiid holding down the fort in Philly and Clint Capela set to return for Houston after the All-Star break, Jordan’s outlook is an interesting one. Both teams could use additional frontcourt depth, but Jordan is still more than capable of being a strong starter at this point. In turn, there’s a reason to believe he could look elsewhere if he believes there’s a chance for a title and also more playing time.

If either the Rockets or Sixers are able to persuade Jordan (assuming he’s bought out) to sign with them, though, it’s an immediate boost. Time will tell, but for now, both players remain on the Knicks and there’s no official word on whether a buyout will happen.

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