After some contention with former President of Basketball operations Phil Jackson, it looked like Kristaps Porzingis was going to be heading out of New York. The young player skipped out on an exit interview with the team and voiced frustration with the franchise prior to the start of the offseason. After Jackson’s firing trade talks stalled, that is of course until Kyrie Irving requested a trade from the Cavaliers. In naming the Knicks as a possible trade destination, the Cavaliers inquired about a swap for Porzingis. The Knicks rightfully and adamantly denied the trade.
I don’t think it is a stretch at all to say that Porzingis is the second coming of Dirk Nowitzki. He is a big man coming out of Europe that can shoot from virtually anywhere on the floor. He’s taller than Dirk, he’s longer than Dirk, and he’s taking a few lessons from Dirk. He is already averaging 18.3 points per game along with 7.2 rebounds, great numbers for a young big. He is also present defensively, averaging two blocks per game.
All of the above matters because it shows how important it is for the Knicks to hold on to Porzingis. He is the epitome of the new young direction that the Knicks’ front office wants to take. Mutually, after clearing up the any unpleasantness with the team, Porzingis has expressed his desire to stay and play in the Big Apple. Perhaps the Knicks could recruit a Kyrie Irving-type player to join Kristaps, but facilitating a trade for him would be ill advised.
The reality of the situation is that last season the Knicks turned their two biggest stars into disgruntled employees. One of them, Carmelo Anthony, is looking to leave. The other, Porzingis, is looking to stay. That matters. Though already pretty good, he will only get better and could end up becoming an All-Star, even as early as this season. Other players, star players, will want to play with him which means he can attract other talents to the Garden. With Dirk in his corner, Porzingis will evolve into someone who can win basketball games, which is exactly what the Knicks need. Even without Anthony, Porzingis is surrounded by an unproven team next season. If he can manage to enlist the help of one or two more stars then the Knicks will not be below .500 for long. Keeping Porzingis is paramount to any championship endeavor the Knick seek to make in the future.
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