Did the Dallas Mavericks Know about the Kristaps Porzingis Rape Allegation Before Trading for Him?

Griffin and Porzingis
Blake Griffin, left, and Kristaps Porzingis at Madison Square Garden, New York City, November 20. Elsa/Getty

The Dallas Mavericks have claimed they were not made aware of the rape allegations surrounding Kristaps Porzingis when they traded for the Latvian in January.

On Thursday, a woman accused the 23-year-old of rape. According to the New York Post, the woman alleged the incident happened on February 7 last year, only hours after the fourth overall pick of the 2015 NBA draft tore his ACL.

Two days later, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski indicated the New York Knicks informed the Mavericks of the allegations surrounding Porzingis when they agreed to trade the player to Dallas and that the NBA was also aware of the situation.

On the February trade call to finalize the Dallas-New York deal, the Knicks informed the Mavericks of the pending rape allegation against Kristaps Porzingis, league sources tell ESPN. The league office had been previously made aware of the allegations.

— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 31, 2019

Along with Porzingis, the Knicks sent Tim Hardaway Jr., Trey Burke and Courtney Lee to Texas in exchange for DeAndre Jordan, Wesley Matthews and two future first-round picks.

However, the Mavericks have since disputed the stance, suggesting they were told the Latvian was subject of an extortion attempt.

The Dallas Morning News reported that the Mavericks claimed the word "rape" was never used in the conversation, as the Knicks only mentioned the term "extortion" instead.

The New York franchise reportedly told the Mavericks they were aware of the extortion attempt involving Porzingis and trusted the player's version of the events.

They also proceeded to inform Dallas the FBI was investigating on the case.

The woman who made the allegation on Thursday reportedly admitted discussing getting a $68,000 from the player to avoid disclosing the incident. According to the New York Post, who first broke the story, the Latvian had promised to give her money to help her pay her brother's college tuition.

However, he then changed his mind and no payment was ever made.

At the time of the alleged rape, both Porzingis and the woman lived at the Sky building in Midtown West. She claimed Porzingis visited her apartment at approximately 2 a.m. in the morning, before inviting her back to his own apartment.

Once the duo were back in his pad, the NBA star reportedly raped the woman.

The player has denied the allegations via his lawyer, Roland G. Riopelle.

"We are aware of the complaint that was made against Mr. Porzingis on Friday and unequivocally deny the allegations," he said in a statement.

"We made a formal referral to federal law enforcement on 20 December 2018, based on the accuser's extortionate demands. We also alerted the National Basketball Association months ago and they are aware of the ongoing investigation of the accuser by federal law enforcement."

A spokesman for the New York Knicks did not specify whether the team had been made aware of the claims.

"This is Kristaps' personal matter and not related to the Knicks," he said.

Meanwhile, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban told the New York Post the team had been instructed by federal authorities not to comment".

In a statement emailed to Newsweek, NBA Players Association's Executive Director Michele Roberts said: "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."

This article has been updated to include a comment from the NBPA

About the writer

Dan Cancian is currently a reporter for Newsweek based in London, England. Prior to joining Newsweek in January 2018, he was a news and business reporter at International Business Times UK. Dan has also written for The Guardian and The Observer. 

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