Trade shuffles Mavericks lineup before game with Pistons

Rod Beard
The Detroit News
Kristaps Porzingis is joining the Dallas Mavericks, though not in time for Thursday's game against the Pistons.


Detroit — The Dallas Mavericks were preparing to face the Pistons for the second time in a week on Thursday. That is, before things changed so quickly and drastically.

After they played the first game of a back-to-back on Wednesday night against the Knicks in New York, the Mavericks’ business wasn’t done. By Thursday evening, they had completed a blockbuster trade, acquiring Kristaps Porzingis, Tim Hardaway Jr., Trey Burke and Courtney Lee in exchange for Dennis Smith Jr., DeAndre Jordan, Wesley Matthews and two first-round draft picks.

It’s a bold move for the Mavericks, who were unsure about the pairing of Smith and budding young star Luka Doncic. With Porzingis, they have a superstar pairing for the future, assuming that Porzingis signs a long-term deal. Porzingis requested a trade in a meeting with the Knicks front office on Thursday — and they quickly obliged.

Because the trade had not officially been completed, Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle wasn’t able to comment on the details in his pregame media session but spoke on the difficulty of preparing for Thursday’s game against the Pistons with a truncated roster.

“We’ve all been through these challenging situations in coaching. There are periods of upheaval. We have injuries we go through, all different kinds of things, so it really isn’t a hard call tonight because we are a little limited with our roster,” Carlisle said before the game. “We’ve got very difficult matchups with (Andre) Drummond and (Blake) Griffin out there. So, the guys that we have available, we’ll lace it up and go hard.”

Carlisle said the nature of the back-to-back games made it difficult to prepare for the game but having a trade in the midst of it brought an added layer of complexity in the wake of the sudden trade news.

He said all the Dallas players involved in the trade were on the team plane when the plan changed when the news of the trade broke.

“We got in very late (Wednesday) night and didn’t really get situated in the hotel until about 3. We did not have a team meeting (Thursday); we were going to go early before the game,” Carlisle said. “That scheduling situation had nothing to do with the impending trade — this thing came together extremely fast; I didn’t hear about it until (Thursday) afternoon.

“One thing you learn in the NBA in a short period of time that this is the greatest league in the world for on-the-fly preparation with back-to-backs and how to scale down scouting information as well as you can. Things happen quickly.”

Griffin sees stars

Blake Griffin got some good news, being named an All-Star for the sixth time, as reserves were named on Thursday. Joining Griffin among the reserves are the Wizards’ Bradley Beal, the Raptors’ Kyle Lowry, the Pacers’ Victor Oladipo, the 76ers’ Ben Simmons, along with the Bucks’ Khris Middleton and the Magic’s Nikola Vucevic.

Oladipo suffered a season-ending injury last week so he will have a replacement, likely Jimmy Butler (76ers) or D’Angelo Russell (Nets).

Griffin is having the best season of his career, posting 26.3 points, 8.1 rebounds and 5.3 assists, shooting 36 percent on 3-pointers. It’s his first All-Star selection since 2015, when he was with the Clippers; he was an All-Star his first five seasons but is in a resurgent season after the trade last January.  

“It’s truly an honor to be selected as an all-star by the coaches in our league,” Griffin said in a team statement. “The only reason I have this opportunity is because of my teammates and coaches, so a big thank you to them and to our fans for their continued support. I look forward to going to Charlotte to represent the Pistons organization and the city of Detroit.”     

Injury update

Reggie Bullock returned to the lineup, after missing the Bucks game because of a sprained left ankle, which he sustained in last week’s game against the Mavericks.

Ish Smith remained out because of groin tightness.

Twitter: @detnewsRodBeard