Why the Charlotte Hornets shouldn’t trade for Kristaps Porzingis

With the NBA Playoffs winding down and the offseason approaching, it’s that time of year when tons of player rumors begin to circulate throughout the league.

The newest rumor regarding the Charlotte Hornets involves former all-star power forward Kristaps Porzingis.

According to Evan Massey of NBA Analysis, the Hornets are very “intrigued” by the idea of acquiring Porzingis from the Dallas Mavericks if he were to become available.

ESPN reported after the Mavericks lost to the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round of the playoffs that Porzingis has grown frustrated with the organization and that he feels like an afterthought to superstar teammate Luka Doncic.

Traded to Dallas by the New York Knicks in a surprising 2019 deal, Porzingis, who tore his ACL in 2018, hasn’t been the same player that made him an All-Star with the Knicks before the injury.

While Porzingis will only be 26 next season, Charlotte trying to make a deal for him would be the complete opposite of what their actual needs are this offseason.

Porzingis is injury prone and his play has suffered

This is the most obvious reason why the Hornets need to stay clear of acquiring the 7-footer. Standing at 7-foot-3, Porzingis is skinny. He’s gained muscle since his rookie season in 2015, weighing 240 pounds last season, but injuries continue to pile up.

Porzingis missed 29 games during the 2020-21 season with a multitude of injuries involving his knee, ankle, wrist, and back.

In 2019-20, Porzingis suffered a knee and heel injury that kept him out a handful of games.

With the size, length, and weight of Porzingis, it shouldn’t be assumed that his injury issues will go away. His play seemed to diminish as the season went on, which could be a result of playing second-fiddle to Doncic, but players his size don’t tend to have long, healthy careers.

The three years remaining on his contract aren’t worth adding to the payroll

In 2019, Porzingis signed a five-year, $158 million deal with the Mavericks. He’s owed more than $31 million in 2021-22, $33 million in 2022-23, and his player option goes up to $36 million in 2023-24.

That’s a lot of money for the Hornets to add to their payroll. After giving Gordon Hayward a large contract last offseason, general manager Mitch Kupchak needs to continue saving as much cap space as he can with potential future deals needed for LaMelo Ball, Terry Rozier, PJ Washington, and Miles Bridges.

It’s also a lot of dough for a player that is a solid starter more than an all-star.

The last thing Charlotte needs is another large contract stuck on the books for a player that hasn’t lived up to expectations.

The Hornets are fine at power forward and need to focus on a defensive big

If the last few years have shown anything, the Hornets need an upgrade at center and that player needs to be a good defender.

Porzingis can get hot offensively, but he hasn’t proven to be a very good defensive player. With Washington and Bridges already on the roster, Porzingis would just add another clog at power forward (assuming one of them isn’t traded.)

Porzingis has played center for Dallas after starting his career at power forward with the Knicks but playing the center position exposed his defensive flaws even more.

The reported Hornets’ intrigue in Porzingis says that Charlotte likes his offensive ability but the risk outweighs the reward. There are other routes that can be taken to add offense.

Charlotte needs to look in other directions for a center that is proven defensively, and there are a handful of options on the free-agent market this offseason.