First, the bad news.
The Mavericks’ decision to sit out Kyrie Irving and five other key players, play Luka Doncic only until the first possession of the second quarter led to a 115-112 loss on Friday night that officially eliminated them from playoff contention.
Kidd coined the front office’s decision as “step back” rather than “waving the white flag.”
“Decisions sometimes are hard in this business, and you have to make hard decisions. We’re trying to build a championship team, and sometimes you gotta take a step back,” Kidd said. “Understanding with this decision, this is maybe a step back, but hopefully it leads to going forward.”
According to Tankathon, the Mavericks currently have a 65.9% chance of keeping their top-10-protected pick this year and deferring conveying the final payment to the Knicks for the Kristaps Porzingis trade in 2019. It has also 19% chance of moving to 11th, which if it happens will give the Knicks the pick.
Those odds will move up and down depending on the result of their last game against fellow tanking team San Antonio Spurs.
Luka Doncic May Request Trade as Early as 2024
Now, the good news.
Another Mavericks’ swing and miss is starting to weigh down on Doncic, who could ask out as early as next year, according to ESPN’s Mavericks insider Tim MacMahon, who wrote:
There’s a strong sense of urgency within the organization to expedite the process before Doncic loses faith in the Mavs’ ability to build a contender around him. He’s wrapping up the first season of a five-year, $215 million supermax contract with a player option for the final season.
Team sources have acknowledged to ESPN that fear exists that Doncic, who publicly and privately expressed extreme frustration this season, could consider requesting a trade as soon as the summer of 2024 if Dallas doesn’t make significant progress by then.
The Knicks are in the best position to become the Mavericks’ trade partner again with their haul of draft picks and emerging young players.
Damian Lillard Endorses Immanuel Quickley as 6th Man of the Year
One of the Knicks’ emerging players that have put the team in a great position to trade for a superstar is Immanuel Quickley.
Quickley is the betting favorite to win the Sixth Man of the Year.
His endorsement for the award grows by the day.
Add Portland Trail Blazers’ superstar point guard Damian Lillard to the list.
Unprompted, Lillard made his pick known for this season’s Sixth Man of the Year.
Lillard quote Re-Tweeted a Tweet that listed the current frontrunners, stating his choice of Quickley.
Quickley continued his stellar run this season with 24 points on 6-of-10 3-point shooting in a 113-105 Knicks’ loss to the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday.
He is averaging 14.7 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.4 assists for the season.
Quickley’s rise means it will cost a lot for the Knicks to retain him after his rookie year contract.
“You can’t come in [with] four years, $60 million [offer] anymore,” ESPN’s Zach Lowe said on SNY’s Putback episode on Wednesday.
With the Knicks flip him in a package to acquire a star like Doncic down the road?