The New York Knicks send a player most thought was their future for enough cap space for two max free agents.
I am ready to hear from my fellow Knick fans, as crazy as we can be, about how this trade is a bad thing.
In case you missed it – the Knicks got rid of Porzingis, Tim Hardaway Jr., Courtney Lee and Trey Burke to the Mavericks for Dennis Smith Jr., two first-round picks, and the expiring contracts of DeAndre Jordan and Wesley Matthew.
At the very least, the Knicks have set themselves up to be a real player in July when NBA free agency kicks off. The possibility of going after two max free-agents: Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, or Kyrie Irving is very appealing. Add in the possibility of adding Zion Williamson makes me smile.
I am kool with that.
Many of my fellow fans are not. Especially the fans who had hope that Kristaps Porzingis was going to save the franchise. I was not a believer in the Unicorn.
Here is why:
- He did not want to play for the Knicks – he was not bought in. He asked to be traded.
- He is coming off a major injury. We have no idea what kind of player he will be post ACL tear. Plus, 7 footers, with leg injuries tend to get worse, not better (Google: Shawn Bradley and Greg Oden)
- This past summer, he showed he had some maturing to do as a professional, as he blew off meetings with the Knicks.
With that as the context for this trade…I applaud the move.
Porzingis missed 10 games his rookie year, 16 the next season, 34 games last year, and 50 games of this season. As gifted as Porzingis was, do not forget he had trouble staying on the court. Those who say different or were willing to look past that fact because they hoped the Unicorn was the answer are living in a fantasy.
Keeping Porzingis would have been a huge gamble. The fact that the Knicks will have almost $75 million in cap space is amazing.
Sure the Knicks might not be attractive to some superstars…but Kyrie is a different story. He is a Jersey kid that has dreamed about balling in the Garden. Maybe he convinces Durant to come to New York. Only time will tell.
Some may say the Knicks are panicking and being impatient, that is crazy talk.
At the end of the day, along with getting rid of disgruntled star, the Knicks are fulfilling their pledge to rebuild by removing players who had no future with the Knicks. You never want veterans who have no future playing in front of player who do. Kevin Knox, Alonzo Trier, Mitchell Robinson are part of the Knicks future. Porzingis, Hardaway, and Lee were not. Hardaway in the trade was key – his departure frees up time for younger wings (Trier and Knox).
I have been a Knick fan for over 40 years and I am very happy with this move. Even if we do not get a max player this summer. To get two first round picks and Dennis Smith Jr. for a player that did not want to be here and dump two bad contracts – I’m pleased with what we got in return.