Trading Kristaps Porzingis was absolutely the right move
In case you’ve been living under a rock, the New York media went ablaze over the past two days as New York’s “favorite son” Kristaps Porzingis was traded to the Dallas Mavericks. He was part of a larger deal that sent KP, Tim Hardaway Jr. Courtney Lee and Trey Burke to Dallas for the expiring contracts of Wesley Matthews and Deandre Jordan, young star Dennis Smith Jr., and two future first round picks.
Many people scoffed at the idea that the Knicks could trade their “unicorn” for essentially cap space, but it makes sense. Porzingis is coming off a horrible ACL injury, has been disgruntled many times over (including a personal feud with Phil Jackson where he stormed out before the team’s exit interview), and quite honestly is one of the more overrated players in the league.
Knicks fans act like this guy was Michael Jordan. Porzingis was constantly injured, soft on defense, and although he had some bright spots never really was the star that many portray him to be. If he played in Milwaukee he would be an afterthought. Has anyone been more praised for doing less than Kristaps Porzingis? Has anyone bought into their own hype without deserving to more than Kristaps Porzingis?
Riddle me this; The Knicks are 76-109 with Porzingis in their lineup. He’s played less than half of his team’s games since being drafted by the Knicks in 2015. He made one All-Star team, didn’t even sniff the playoffs, and was constantly moaning about the “direction” the Knicks are going in. How can he complain when he’s never on the court!?
Now fans may say that it isn’t his fault that the Knicks were terrible and that he didn’t have any players around him, but that’s just not true. If he was on an island by himself I could understand, but he had Carmelo Anthony by his side for the first two seasons and although Melo in his own right is vastly overrated, he was still a very capable NBA player.
Unfortunately Knicks fans just like to buy into hype. We bought t-shirts for Jeremy freaking Lin, thought we would win the NBA Championship with 3/4 of Am’are Stoudemire, and treated Carmelo Anthony like he was Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar all in one. Knicks fans are so starved for any kind of success that it clouds any sense of reality.
What does this mean going forward? Well the Knicks took a huge gamble not knowing if Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, or any other big star will sign with them. On top of that, they’re not guaranteed the number one pick in the draft lottery in the least bit, and knowing their history they’ll probably win the last five games of the season and wind up drafting some schlub from Latvia again.
However, this gamble was most certainly calculated because the NBA is one big drama pot and rumors spread like wildfire. Where there’s smoke there’s fire and the smoke leads to Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving coming to the Knicks. Even if the Knicks don’t get them, shouldn’t fans be happy that they’re at least taking a risk?
The past however many years has been one big quest to mediocrity and hoping to make one of the last playoff spots in the East. Kristaps Porzingis wasn’t getting the Knicks to the NBA Finals. If he signed that rookie max deal, which he would have if he was smart, the Knicks would be stuck with an injury prone player who has an inflated ego and who probably would have missed at least a quarter of their games. What kind of team star is that?
Look, Kristaps Porzingis is an athletic freak, but his hype and his stature most certainly look better than his actual stats. He’s not a flash in the pan success, but he most certainly isn’t a franchise player. I may have to eat crow if he comes back healthy and leads the Dallas Mavericks to the NBA Championship in a few years, but I’ll take my chances. Now the Knicks should focus on Kevin Durant and Co. to get a real shot at a championship.