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The New York Knicks offered up Kristaps Porzingis for Donovan Mitchell and De’Aaron Fox before reaching a deal with the Dallas Mavericks.

The New York Knicks quickly and neatly pulled off the blockbuster trade to send Kristaps Porzingis to the Dallas Mavericks. But New York’s front office had been working on a deal for a while.

Marc Stein of the New York Times is reporting that the Knicks were working on a trade involving Porzingis for much of January. Furthermore, the Knicks reached out to check in on two young lead guards in the Western Conference. The Utah Jazz’s Donovan Mitchell and the Sacramento Kings’ De’Aaron Fox were two players on the Knicks’ wish list. Stein writes:

“The Knicks spent much of January quietly canvassing the league for potential Porzingis trades, according to a person familiar with the talks who was not authorized to discuss them publicly. They tried for untouchables such as Utah’s Donovan Mitchell and Sacramento’s De’Aaron Fox and, predictably, were rebuffed.”

Dennis Smith Jr. is a promising young point guard, but he’s not in the same conversation as Mitchell or Fox right now. Those two were obviously big swings, but it shows how much the ACL injury affected Porzingis’ value.

Obviously, Mitchell and Fox have All-Star potential in the future, but Porzingis was already at that level prior to his injury. Despite the fact that they couldn’t pry away Mitchell or Fox, the Knicks seemed to bring back significant value for Porzingis.

Smith, 21, seems to fit Fizdale’s vision for a point guard. He can probe the defense with the dribble and use his athleticism to attack the rim.

Moreover, the Knicks secured cap relief and two first-round draft picks to sweeten the deal. It’s folly to try and assign grades to a trade immediately after it happens. That being said, the Knicks have to like their return—even if it isn’t Mitchell or Fox.

NY/NJ hoops reporter (NBA/NCAA) & sports betting writer for XL Media. Never had the makings of a varsity athlete.