EXCLUSIVE Dallas Mavs Donuts: Inside the Kristaps Porzingis Trade; Luka Doncic gets a signature shoe with Jordan Brand
To say the least, it’s been a busy two weeks for the Dallas Mavericks. Not only did the team win six of its last seven games before the All-Star break, but the front office made a massive decision to trade Kristaps Porzingis to the Washington Wizards.
Mavs GM Nico Harrison took some time out of his busy schedule this week to sit down with Dalton Trigg on a special edition of our Mavs Step Back Podcast. During the interview, Harrison discusses why the front office finally decided it was time to leave Porzingis, what the ideal ‘second star’ looks like next to Luka Doncic in his mind, why people wouldn’t must have been surprised by Jason Kidd. Dallas workout success and more.
In this weekend edition of “Mavs Donuts,” we break down all of Nico Harrison’s interview responses in the style of a quote chart. Enjoy!
DONUT 1: WHY MAVS EXCHANGED PORZINGIS
“That was the biggest thing we could get out of it, that we had the chance to turn one player into two and kind of fill in the holes that we needed. That’s the reason we did it. When you start hitting the trade deadline, teams start calling and you have two-way conversations. Then you start realizing, ‘hey, we could actually make this happen.’ … We were determined to do whatever we could to help the roster, but what we didn’t want to do was actually just make a move for the sake of making a move. I think you can get you trapped in there. We had our goals at the start of the week and what we wanted to accomplish, and if we couldn’t accomplish that, we wouldn’t have done anything.”
DONUT 2: THE PERFECT SECOND STAR FOR LUKA?
“I don’t know if there is an ideal player. I really think if you have the opportunity to bring in another amazing player to play alongside Luka [Doncic], they could be any position. Great players realize this. So I don’t think it has to be a forward or a center or another guard, I just think when you have that opportunity to bring in someone of that high-level caliber, you let the players figure it out.
DONUT 3: KIDD’S IMPACT ON GIANNIS AND MIDDLETON
“I think [Kidd] has seen incredible growth. I also think if you look at the Milwaukee team [he coached], they were not ready to win. They weren’t built to win and ready to win. But if you look at the development of the players who were part of this team, do you look at where they are now? [Atetokounmpo and Middleton] are stars. [Kidd and his coaching staff] had a big problem there. It’s just human nature. As you get more experiences, you’re going to grow from that, and Jason has definitely grown from that.”
DONUT 4: LAKERS DON’T WIN IT ALL WITHOUT KIDD?
“The thing that people don’t really emphasize is the work he’s done with the Lakers. The Lakers don’t win the  championship without what he did. The way he is able to communicate with the superstars, the way he is able to support the team. And the coach he worked for, it wasn’t about Jason. Jason was in a supporting role. He embraced the role, and he did everything he could to support the head coach and support the players, but he never made a big splash.”
DONUT 5: MAVS GETTING ‘BEST VERSION’ OF KIDD NOW
“I think Jason learned a lot from his first two stops. [in Brooklyn and Milwaukee]. I to know he learned a lot, because we had long conversations about it. And I think what you saw in Jason in LA is more of a reflection of what you see with Jason here with us on the Mavs. … He’s a much better coach now than he was at his first stop, and I think he’s learned so much along the way at each stop that we get the best version of him [now].”
DONUT 6: GORAN DRAGIC AND MAVS BUYOUT MARKET PLANS
“We knew that Goran [Dragic] would be a potential takeover candidate, and there are other names as well, but we’ve done our homework. We think we know who is going to be redeemed. But at the end of the day, we already have 15 spots on the roster, and to bring in someone, whoever that person is, we would have to release someone, and I don’t think we want to do that. I think we like our roster the way it is, and there’s no one I’d feel comfortable releasing at this point to add space for someone else.
DONUT 7: WHAT MAVS SAW IN DAVIS BERTANS AS A COMMERCIAL TARGET
“[Bertans’] shooting ability, you remember to shoot all of a sudden. You’re not an amazing career shooter and then all of a sudden you forget. This lets you know that something is going on. It could be playing time, it could be an injury, you just don’t know. But you are convinced that he can still shoot the ball. And we also know when you have an amazing point guard like Luka [Doncic], he finds open shooters. Then it’s just a matter of whether you can put the ball in the hole, and we knew [Bertans] could do it, so that gave us confidence in him.
DONUT 8: WHAT MAVS SEE IN SPENCER DINWIDDIE AS A COMMERCIAL TARGET
“When you start looking at point guards and guys who through their careers have been able to score and also make plays for other people, Spencer [Dinwiddie] is the perfect person for this.
DONUT 9: LEARN MORE ABOUT THE THINKING BEHIND DINWIDDIE AND BERTANS COMMERCE
“I don’t want to overdo it too much – but when a team doesn’t play up to their abilities then you start to see the players aren’t playing up to their abilities either. It’s like hey, who’s a guy who maybe you value him more than his team right now because they’re not winning and then can you put them on our team with J-Kidd and the players we have around them, and does it help them get back to life? That’s kind of what we bet in this case.
DONUT 10: DOES KP TRADE OPEN AN OPPORTUNITY FOR BIGGER FUTURE TRADE?
“Absolutely. It’s out of the question. We said it gives us depth and flexibility, and flexibility comes in different ways. Not just with your roster, but with potential moves down the road.
DONUT 11: SIMILARITIES AND DIFFERENCES BETWEEN NIKE JOB AND NBA GM JOB
“The beauty of my old job is that I had relationships, whether it was with general managers, agents or players. That translated into what I do now, but the difference is that you now deal to a limited number of players, one team against a group of teams. And then there are the rules, so it’s not like you can do whatever you want. Learn the rules, learn the nuances of the NBA , how it comes and goes, learning the ABCs – it’s brand new. It was great, though. It was a big challenge to soak it all up in that first year.
“I know all the [other NBA] GMs, we just had a different relationship [when I was at Nike]. They can call me to ask about one of their players or a player they’re looking to sign, but now I’m in competition with them, so when we talk we don’t have the same conversations. They’re a little more reserved when they talk to me now.
DONUT 12: THE LUKA DONCIC SIGNATURE SHOE ARRIVES
“I can tell you this, they are working with Jordan [on an official signature shoe]. It’s on the way. Stay tuned. [Luka] deserved it.