Details continue emerging on the fallout of Kristaps Porzingis being accused of sexual assault during his time with the New York Knicks. According to Marc Stein and Kevin Draper of The New York Times, the league office would have blocked the trade that sent the Latvian star to the Dallas Mavericks in February if it believed the case against him was “strong.”
The New York Times reported on Saturday that before the trade, the Knicks made the Mavericks aware of a potential “extortion issue” with Porzingis. One person briefed on the trade call between the teams and who was not authorized to discuss it publicly expressed the belief on Monday that the N.B.A. would not have allowed the trade to go through if the case against Porzingis appeared to be strong.
The allegations against Porzingis first surfaced last week. According to the New York Post, the complainant told police the alleged attack occurred on February 7th, 2018, the day after Porzingis suffered a season-ending ACL tear from which he’s still recovering. The Post also reported that the woman waited more than a year to come forward because she had discussed receiving a hush-money payment of $68,000 from Porzingis. The NYPD’s Special Victims Unit has reportedly taken over the case.
The Knicks reportedly made the Mavericks aware of a potential “extortion issue” involving Porzingis while on the trade call with league representatives.
Dallas has refused to comment on the situation, referring all questions to the NBA, which has also stayed mostly mum. Notably, Porzingis has the public support of the National Basketball Players’ Association.
“We have been aware of these allegations for some time, have evaluated the accuser’s claims and, based on what is presently before us, stand with Kristaps,” NBPA executive director Michell Roberts said in a statement.
Porzingis, 23, is a restricted free agent this summer.