It’s been nearly two weeks since the New York Knicks made the most irrational trade of the season. They shipped away star Kristaps Porzingis in a salary cap dump. I’ve seen a lot of bad trades, whether it be for Melo or Andrea Bargnani but never anything like this. It took me some time to rationalize the swap.
Porzingis is a star that I was never in love with. He’s the significant other that you should love. They’re smart, they’re cute and they’re everything you should want in someone. They’re the type of person that has a relationship that Twitter or Instagram loves. But something just doesn’t click: it’s not there. And that sums up Porzingis. He’s 7-foot-3, has a great outside shot and is an athletic freak. But for some reason, something told you that you had to move on. A guy this good doesn’t miss the playoffs every year. A guy this good doesn’t play only one game after March in his career.
Then you start to realize that there are definite issues. They complain a lot about small things. And even if they get their way, there’s always another issue. Not to mention the voice in their ear that’s always feeding them information, right or wrong.
Brother Janis would never let Porzingis shut up. At first, he had a problem with Phil Jackson, this is Phil f—ing Jackson, the guy with 13 championships. So the Knicks move on. Then, Kristaps has an issue with the players around him. Maybe if he learned to pass — because 1.2 assists don’t cut it — everyone around him would’ve played better. But he doesn’t. He tears his ACL. These types of injuries have a pretty routine recovery now. But they’re not when you’re 7-foot-3. So the Knicks say they’ll get him help. They’ll tank this season and the next, draft elite prospects and maybe even pull in a star or two in free agency come 2019. But midway through this season, Porzingis has an issue. He doesn’t want to lose. This is like going to the mall if you don’t want to spend money. Porzingis is the worst date of all time. He’s always finding something to complain about, someone to cut off or somewhere better to be. There is literally nothing you can do to make him happy. The Knicks bent over backward for a guy who averages 17.8 points, 1.3 assists and 7.1 rebounds. He’s 7-foot-3. He could stand there with his arms up in the paint for half the game and grab ten rebounds. No wonder he’s so tired of tanking, he’s been tanking his own stats for years.
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The Knicks cut Porzingis free when they didn’t have to. They wanted to. At first glance, Kristaps for Dennis Smith Jr and two expiring contracts seems awful. But wait, they also shipped off Courtney Leeand Tim Hardaway Jr. Hardaway had one of the worst contracts in the league and that was before his trade kicker began. That’s also not to mention that they got two first-round picks. The Mavs are locked into Porzingis and Luka Doncic. Unless they get a steal in the middle of the draft, they’ve set an odd ceiling for themselves.
Remember that “The Process” was hated on for years. Remember that Nerlens Noel was traded away at his peak by the Sixers in a move that confused everyone. In order to win on a trade, it often times has to make no sense whatsoever to the other side. The Knicks made a gamble. I’ve seen them come up and fail on free agency every time. But they brought in a young player, built up a war chest and got rid of an unstable building block. Porzingis isn’t that good of a player. The idea of him is. The Knicks made the right move. The only thing that fans can do is wait. This is not the type of player you want to marry. He was certainly rough to date. Only the most delusional fans think that players aren’t wary of Danny Ainge after how he shipped out Isaiah Thomas. You can’t just ship off a guy who’s played through his sister’s death in the playoffs. Players will notice that the Knicks did the right thing and took care of KP when they didn’t have to. Maybe this is the highest his value will be. Maybe he’ll just get better even though he hasn’t shown signs of growth. But I trust that they did the right thing. Just because I spilled grape juice on my carpet doesn’t mean I’m going to burn the house down. Just because KP is 7-foot-3 and on our roster doesn’t mean that that’s who we have to build around.