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Kristaps Porzingis reveals why he and Luka Doncic didn’t work out with Mavericks

Kristaps Porzingis was a guest on JJ Reddick’s “The Old Man and the 3” podcast and pretty thoughtfully answered questions about his time with the Mavs.

Indiana Pacers v Dallas Mavericks
Luka Doncic #77 and Kristaps Porzingis #6 of the Dallas Mavericks are seen on the court against the Indiana Pacers at American Airlines Center on January 29, 2022 in Dallas, Texas.
Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images

Boston Celtics forward Kristaps Porzingis admitted in a recent interview with former NBA sharpshooter JJ Reddick that, early on in Porzingis’ time with the Mavericks from 2019-2022, he and teammate Luka Dončić were embroiled in something of a “pissing contest.”

The quote actually came from Reddick, who posed the question on whether that dynamic existed between the two stars when Porzingis arrived in Dallas in Dončić’s second year, on his “Old Man and the 3” podcast.

“Early on, for sure,” Porzingis said, later admitting that the low-simmering tension between the two was part of the overall reason it didn’t work for Porzingis in Dallas. “But I think we both tried to make it work. It’s just, I think, communication and maturity on both our parts should have been better.”

The Mavericks traded Porzingis to the Washington Wizards in February 2022 for Spencer Dinwiddie and Davis Bertans.

Reddick, who was on the same Dončić-Porzingis Mavs team briefly during the 2020-21 season, shared another time when tempers flared between Dončić and Rick Carlisle during a game at Memphis, and Porzingis called Dončić a baby as Dončić returned to the bench. So it seems to have been at least a little contentious between the two at least some of the time toward the end of the Carlisle Era.

But Porzingis didn’t come off sounding like he had sour grapes over any of it. He answered Reddick’s questions about his time with the Mavericks with a lot of thoughtfulness and honesty. He seems to have experienced some personal growth over the last couple years and came at the conversation with the clarity of someone who has really internalized the lessons from the trials of his past.

“It’s a mix of many things,” Porzingis said when Reddick asked his overall thoughts on his two-plus years with the Mavs. “Maturity for sure — and I’m talking about what I could have done better. Better maturity for sure, and I wasn't that much into analytics and numbers. If somebody at that stage of my career presented it to me the right way and said, ‘This is what we need to do; this is what we need from you; you're way more effective doing this,’ and explained it to me better, I think that would have made a difference a little bit.”

Porzingis said during a postgame interview in April 2022 that rumors that he and Dončić did not get along was “the biggest misconception” people had about the relationship between the two stars at the time.

“There’s no issue between us,” Porzingis said then. “We were super cool, we will always hang out and I would say that’s the biggest misconception.”