Start spreading the news. I’m leaving today.
These words so brilliantly sung first by Frank Sinatra has extra meaning today for New York Knicks fans.
The first blockbuster trade of 2019 in the NBA world occurred today, as the Knicks and Mavericks agreed on a 7-player swap.
Before we start analyzing the logistics of this trade, let’s remember that the Knicks are currently 10-40 on the season, and have the worst record in the league. Things can’t get much worse from here.
So with this blockbuster trade, the main trading piece is the “Unicorn,” also known by many as Kristaps Porzingis. Along with Porzingis, the Knicks also traded away promising young point guard Trey Burke, savvy veteran guard Courtney Lee, and their leading scorer Tim Hardaway Jr.
But, let’s talk about what the Knicks gained, because the return was great. The Knicks received explosive guard Dennis Smith Jr., who just never found his rhythm in Dallas having to share the load with Luka Doncic. As well as Smith, New York also received sharpshooter Wesley Matthews, resurgent big man DeAndre Jordan, and two future first-round picks. But, many expert sources believe that Matthews and Jordan will be potential buyout candidates for the Knicks, who are now just waiting out the rest of the season in hopes of gaining that number one pick.
Porzingis is an interesting addition to a Mavericks team that can sniff the playoffs, but are just a little out of reach at the moment. Porzingis, 23 years old, is essentially the Andrew Luck of the NBA. We have seen glimpses of amazing from the young man, but after tearing his ACL in a career best scoring year in 2017 with 22.7 PPG, he has yet to touch the floor in over a year.
It’s not a question that Porzingis will be back at some point in the next year, and sources close to the Knicks have said he has been working out on the court getting shots up as of late.
But for the Knicks, this trade today was about looking towards the future. Porzingis is an expendable player for their organization, proving no value after missing over a year of action while taking up loads of cap room at the same time. Also, Porzingis is nearing his contract year, and the odds of the Unicorn resigning in New York were extremely unlikely.
Knicks fans, I have good news for you. You are rebuilding the right way. Let me tell you why. Dennis Smith Jr. was a star in the league last year, and needs to be the player that an organization can build around for him to succeed. With Luka coming into the fold this year, Smith had to change his style of play. But with New York, Smith will be given a chance to flourish, and that will be a scary sight for many teams around the league.
As well as getting Smith, you are also getting two future first-round picks. And, let’s be honest, you’ll probably get the first pick of the 2019 draft as well. Can somebody say Zion Williamson for the people in the back?
So, the future is looking bright for a true basketball city that has seen some of the most horrid basketball in the last decade than any other team. Be patient Knicks fans, because as gloomy as it may look right now, the rebuild is off to the right start.
With some of the most cap room of any team in the NBA right now, upcoming free agents like Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, and Kyrie Irving may soon be singing that old Frank Sinatra tune.
I want to be a part of it. New York, New York.
-Allen Perez (Senior at Kennesaw State University, Sports Director of KSU Owl Radio, radio play-by-play announcer for Kennesaw State Men’s basketball and sports talk show host) (Twitter: @therealATLfan, email: firstname.lastname@example.org)