DALLAS (105.3 The Fan) - Tim Hardaway Sr. says there is one major misconception when it comes to the 2019 trade known as the "Kristaps Porzingis trade" between the Mavericks and the New York Knicks.
"Y'all wrong, the conversation was they were trying to get Tim here," the elder Hardaway said of his son, Mavs guard Tim Hardaway Jr., being called a 'throw-in' in the blockbuster deal headlined by Porzingis.
The hosts of Fan Jam, Chris Arnold, Will Chambers and Kevin Gray initially laughed at Hardaway's comment, believing that this was a father simply making a joke and sticking up for his son's abilities.
But then he explained further.
"I'm serious. I'm going to tell you the truth. Dallas wanted to get Tim. ... I'm telling you the God's honest truth, and they aren't going to tell you that, (but) I know for a fact that they said, '(the Knicks) what you think about Porzingis?' And they (the Mavs) were like, 'Porzingis is available?' And they (the Mavs) were like, 'what you thinking?' And they (the Knick) were like, 'hmm, okay, let's put this together and we'll call you back.' They put something together and something happened.
"Now, everybody is saying that Tim Hardaway Jr. was a throw-in. No, Porzingis was a throw-in. Because they (the Mavs) called for Tim Hardaway Jr., and they were going to make a deal for Tim Hardaway Jr., and it so happened that the Knicks didn't want Porzingis anymore because of what he demanded. So, when people say Tim Hardaway Jr. was a throw-in that pisses me off because nobody knows what really happened."
Before we go any further, I want to emphasize that Hardaway Sr. is not calling Porzingis a "throw-in" type of player.
For those who might be unaware, oftentimes, teams are targeting one specific player in a trade, but in order to get that player, a "throw-in" player might be needed to make the trade legal. The players are typically seen as "filler" and wouldn't likely have a large impact on their new team.
So, what Hardaway is saying is that the Knicks were willing to include KP in a deal because of whatever demands he was making, and the Mavs just so happened to call at the right time about Hardaway and ended up with both players.
More on that in a minute.
So, if what Hardaway is saying is true, Mavs owner Mark Cuban wouldn't ever admit it (as Hardaway Sr. said he wouldn't). However, what Cuban has done from the very beginning of the trade, is point out that Hardaway wasn't simply a 'throw-in.'
“Yeah, I know. It is exciting," Cuban said last year on WFAN when asked about the Doncic-Porzingis pairing. "And don’t sleep on Timmy Hardaway Jr. I mean Timmy, I think, has been the biggest surprise. We knew KP was good. We knew what the other guys can do, but Timmy now that he’s just catch and shoot has been lights out. Quickest release in the NBA. Probably one of the top-three catch and shoot players in all of the NBA now. It took a little while. Right after the trade, he wasn’t quite confident of his role and we were asking him to do different things than the Knicks did, but Luka getting him the ball, it’s just a sight to see. As much as we love KP and Courtney (Lee), getting Timmy has been a great step for us.”
In that same interview, Cuban said he was "very" stunned that the Mavs were able to get their hands on player of Porzingis' caliber at such a young age, despite the injury concerns.
“It happens in the NBA. It’s like the James Harden trade. Harden gets traded from OKC to the Rockets and I’m like, damn, why didn’t we even get that offered to us? We weren’t in the mix. Nobody was. It was one phone call and the Rockets said yes. (The Porzingis trade) was our one phone call.”
But did the Mavs make that phone call with the intention of getting Porzingis or Hardaway? We might never know the whole truth, but it's an interesting story, nonetheless.
Hardaway is earning north of $18 million in the final year of his contract with the Mavs and the team has privately expressed confidence that they'll be able to lock him up long-term.
Despite Hardaway lacking some consistency on a nightly basis, it's very evident that he has thrived with Doncic at his side. The 29-year-old averaged 16.6 points per game on almost 45% shooting from the field this season. He's the team's second leading scorer through the first six games of the playoffs at 18 points per game on 42.5% shooting from the field and nearly 46% from deep.
Meanwhile, Porzingis hasn't been a focal point on offense for the Mavs in the postseason thus far, as he's often been used as a spot-up shooter on most of the team's offensive possessions.
"It's obviously not easy, but I accept it," said Porzingis after his third single-digit scoring performance of the series. "That's what the team is asking me to do, and I'm willing to do whatever, whatever is necessary for us to go forward. As soon as I accepted that, then it's not a psychological battle with myself anymore. I'm just out there playing and doing things that the team's asking me to do and trying to do the best I can."
After Game 6, Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle was asked for his thoughts on KP's performance thus far in the series and if they will look to try and "get him going" in Game 7 on Sunday?
"This comes down to what's best for our team. I've had a lot of conversations with KP during this series. Going into Game 4, we had one strategy that was completely different than what we had going into Game 5. He's been great (at) accepting what our strategy was as a team, locking into it, and being professional about it," Carlisle said.
"What this always comes down to is, your term, " getting him going." Does that manifest in the best things for the team, with their lineup, and the fact that they are putting a difficult defender on him, and those kinds of things? And, so, we'll look at it going into Game 7. I'll tell you this, I love the way he's playing. I would love to get him for open shots, and we'll look to do that in Game 7, for sure."