DALLAS, Texas– Before the Wednesday Spurs-Mavericks game, news broke that LaMarcus Aldridge and the Spurs agreed to part ways. After signing a 2-year $50 million deal before 2019, his stats have taken a nosedive. In the year before his contract, he averaged 21.3 PPG. This year, he has averaged less than 14 PPG.
Without Aldridge, the Spurs (18-15) faced off against their in-state rivals, the Mavs (19-16). The Mavericks got big nights from Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis in route to a 115-104 victory. Doncic completed his 8th triple-double of the season with 22 points, 12 rebounds, and 12 assists. Porzingis was the high-scorer and had a double-double, finishing with 28 points and 14 rebounds.
Moving forward, the Spurs will look for the best possible trade scenario for Aldridge. With the loss, they now sit tied for 7th in the West with the Mavs. The NBA trade deadline was moved to March 25 this year, so they will have at least two weeks to move him. However, as a team on the edge of playoff contention, they will look for a trade ASAP. They need to add a piece to their frontcourt rotation if they wish to make a postseason run.
Luka’s historic triple-double
One of the youngest NBA stars, Luke Doncic, has been adding accolades to his resume this season. Many NBA players will not finish with 8 triple-doubles in their whole career, much less a season. For Luka, the feat is something he has done regularly in his young career.
At 22 years old and just his 3rd season, Luka put his name on a historical list. The triple-double on Wednesday was his 33rd of his career; that ties Celtics legend Bob Cousy for 1tth all-time. He trails only Russell Westbrook, LeBron James, James Harden, and Nikola Jokic for active players. His name ranks among some of the greats, like Michael Jordan (17th, 28 career triple-doubles) and John Havlicek (14th, 31 career).
“Every kid dreams of playing in the NBA. I am living that dream,” said Luka.
The Mavericks have dealt with a ton this season. Like many teams, COVID Protocols have canceled games while keeping some Mavericks out. Also, the winter storms that hit Texas were an even bigger speed bump to their process. However, according to Luke, they have still been improving, and that shows on a night like tonight.
“I thought when the guys came back from COVID, we needed a couple games to get back, but we are growing and growing. I don’t think we played good today, but this day shows how much we have improved, especially on the defensive end,” said Luka.
Porzingis involved in trade rumors amid dominant performance
Like the Spurs, the Mavs have been involved in trade talks for their former all-star big man. Porzingis, the former 4th overall pick of the Knicks, has been shopped around the league despite solid numbers. This is not the same situation as Aldridge; Porzingis is still scoring 20.2 PPG while grabbing 8.4 RPG. However, his numbers have not been nearly as high as his 2018 all-star year with the Knicks.
Despite his 7 foot 1 inch frame, Porzingis has struggled as the primary rim protector. He fits as a power forward more naturally but plays alongside another forward, Maxi Kleber. If the Mavs are concerned about protecting the rim in a playoff series, it may make sense to move Porzingis. However, team owner Mark Cuban has denied the rumors that Porzingis is on the trade market.
Mavs @ Thunder, Thursday, March 11, Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK
Spurs vs. Magic, Friday, March 12, AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX