Kristaps Porzingis isn’t worried about doubters.
The Mavericks big man has been working out in his native Latvia in the offseason – and is looking pretty buff in new photos he shared to Instagram on Wednesday.
“I’ve been doubted before. I like it,” Porzingis captioned the post, to which Mavericks owner Mark Cuban added three flexed muscle emojis in the comments.
Porzingis posted a trio of workout snaps that showed him holding a medicine ball attached to a weighted rope and lifting two 12.5-pound weights.
Porzingis’ cryptic caption comes at a tumultuous time in Dallas for both him and the team.
The 25-year-old’s days as a Maverick are reportedly numbered. An ESPN report in June said Porzingis has grown frustrated with point guard Luka Doncic’s ball-dominant style of play and superstar status.
Dallas acquired Porzingis from the Knicks in 2019 in hopes of creating a dynamic duo, but the pair reportedly haven’t gotten along. Doncic and Porzingis have been known to have “dustups” since Porzingis’ arrival in Dallas, according to Mavs owner Mark Cuban — something Porzingis later denied.
Porzingis has two years left on his contract, with a player option for a third season. He is owed more than $31 million in 2021-22 and $33 million in 2022-23, and his player option increases to $36 million in 2023-24. When it comes to a potential trade, teams are reportedly hesitant about taking on his contract.
Porgzingis hasn’t lived up to his “unicorn” status in Dallas, and ended the season with less than impressive playoffs performance, where he averaged 13.3 points and 5.4 rebounds per game and struggled on defense. Dallas was eliminated by the Clippers in seven games during the first round after going up 2-0.
When asked about his future in Dallas after the Mavs-Clippers series, Porzingis didn’t seem to have positive outlook.
“Good question,” he said after Game 7. “How do I feel? I mean, I’m good. I tried to put in the work, tried to work hard. I do my part, listen to the coaches, what I’m asked to do, and that’s it,” he explained.
It’s far from the only piece of drama in Dallas. In June, it was reported that Doncic was concerned about his future with the franchise because of a brewing rift with Haralabos Voulgaris, the team’s director of quantitative research and development. Two days after the report came out, Dallas parted ways with longtime GM Donnie Nelson — a decision Doncic later admitted he was upset over.
Shortly thereafter, longtime Mavs coach Rick Carlisle informed the team he would not return to coach for a 14th season. Seven days later, Carlisle inked a four-year, $29 million deal to return as head coach of the Pacers, where he coached for four seasons before being fired in 2007.