The NBA world was shook up on Thursday when the New York Knicks dealt Kristaps Porzingis to the Dallas Mavericks for second-year lottery pick Dennis Smith Jr. It was a rather questionable move by the Knicks, done primarily to open up the requisite space to sign Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, should those players opt to leave the Golden State Warriors and Boston Celtics, respectively.
But while the Knicks hope to damage the Warriors over the offseason, this trade might actually help Golden State this year.
Here are the full details of the trade: Dallas receives Porzingis, Tim Hardaway Jr., and Courtney Lee - hefty fiscal obligations for the right to have a 23-year old All-Star. The Knicks receive Smith, Wes Matthews, DeAndre Jordan, and two protected future first-round draft picks - some intriguing prospects and two large expiring contracts.
It’s those expiring contracts that should excite the Warriors. The Knicks boast the league’s worst record, at 10-40. They’re playing for Zion Williamson, not for the playoffs. Matthews and Jordan are important pieces for New York because their expiring contracts open up cap space - not because of their on-court contributions.
Which means they almost surely won’t remain on the Knicks. The Knicks will explore trading both players, but are unlikely to find suitors for their contracts. Assuming the trade attempts are futile, New York will surely buy out or waive Matthews and Jordan.
The Warriors have an open roster spot, and will be looking for a player on the buyout market who can contribute and add depth. Robin Lopez has been a name linked to the Dubs, but Jordan and Matthews may be even more desirable.
I would circle DeAndre Jordan and Wes Matthews as two potential buyout players to keep an eye on. Players need to be waived by March 1 to become playoff eligible.— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) January 31, 2019
Jordan would be a safe option for the Warriors, as he would give them a strong center option should DeMarcus Cousins suffer an injury setback. Right now the Dubs would be down to Kevon Looney and Jordan Bell if Boogie is injured again, and that doesn’t inspire a ton of confidence, no matter how good of a season Looney is having.
Steve Kerr deferred to Bob Myers on if his thinking has changed on wanting to get a center on buyout market given DeMarcus Cousins’ strong start— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) February 1, 2019
But if they roll the dice on center health, Matthews is a player who would help more. He would instantly play a large role off the bench by providing wing scoring, floor-spacing, and the ability to defend multiple positions. There is no doubt that the Warriors would be interested in the veteran shooting guard.
That said, signing bought out players may not prove to be easy. Golden State can offer the best chance in the league at collecting hardware, but other organizations can offer Jordan and Matthews larger roles. It all depends on what those players are looking for.
But one thing is clear: Interesting players will be available, and the Warriors will be interested.