The Knicks, for their part, had expressed interest in Smith all season. The teams, according to two people with knowledge of their talks, also had been discussing a Hardaway-for-Matthews trade for weeks before Jan. 28, which both sides pinpoint as the first date the Knicks were open to discussing a Porzingis blockbuster.
The parties, as a result, did not need long to build a trade framework.
It certainly did not hurt that the Mavericks made their lone Madison Square Garden appearance of the season two nights later. Knicks General Manager Scott Perry and his Mavericks counterpart, Donnie Nelson, met before the game in a Garden hallway before taking their huddle behind closed doors and summoning Mills.
By night’s end, Smith had registered a triple-double in a resounding Dallas victory and the Mavericks were offering to seal the Porzingis deal by handshake, since Mark Cuban, the Dallas owner, was in the building. The Knicks, however, asked for more time.
The reason? Porzingis and his brother Janis, the player’s agent, had requested a Thursday morning meeting.
Did Porzingis really ask for a trade in that meeting?
When asked at a Monday news conference to address his reported desire to be traded, Porzingis passed.
“I would rather just focus on what’s ahead of me than looking back,” Porzingis said.
A person with knowledge of the meeting, however, said it was requested by the Porzingis brothers — after they had canceled a similar meeting earlier in January — and that it lasted less than five minutes. Later in the day, according to the person, Janis Porzingis gave the Knicks a list of four teams he and Kristaps had deemed acceptable trade destinations.
The Nets and the Los Angeles Clippers were among those four teams, but Dallas was not. The Knicks, meanwhile, were told Porzingis was prepared to leave the team and continue his knee rehabilitation in Spain if he was not moved by Thursday’s 3 p.m. trade deadline.