The Knicks traded Kristaps Porzingis, Tim Hardaway Jr., Trey Burke and Courtney Lee for Dennis Smith Jr., DeAndre Jordan, Wesley Matthews and two future first-round draft picks on Thursday.
There’s no question Knicks fans are giddy about the value their team received in return. The Knicks acquired a point guard and draft picks to build around, but most importantly, they dumped a star who did not want to play for them anymore and they got rid of useless players with undeserving contracts, which also means they freed up more cap space to get two max free agents of any choice such as Kyrie Irving, Klay Thompson, Kawhi Leonard and Kevin Durant this offseason.
Knicks fans can hang their hats on it. They can say a new day has arrived like they said for two decades. They can dedicate the down payment on the 2019-2020 season tickets to it. They can be treated like suckers by Knicks owner James Dolan and Knicks president of basketball operations Steve Mills like they have been forever.
For critics of Dolan and Mills, well, they know better. They saw this act by those two for two decades. They offered promise for a better tomorrow just to find out it does not happen. Remember the Knicks promising everyone that they would get LeBron James in the summer of 2010? Instead, the Knicks settled on couple of booby consolation prizes in the washed up Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony through a trade. Drama and losing took place more than winning in the forgettable Anthony and Stoudemire era.
Why should anyone really think those two will get it right now when they haven’t in two decades of running the Knicks? What makes anyone think they got smarter since then? What have they done to earn a Knicks fan’s trust? Also, why would any star player worth his salt want to play for a dysfunctional organization? Nothing has changed from 2002 to now. It’s been the same constant with losing and drama.
It’s hard to dismiss those questions. Knicks fans like to think things are going to be different this time around, but the problem with that thinking is Irving, Durant and other star players know how the Knicks organization work. They are not stupid. They read and hear what goes on.
Durant never gave the Knicks the courtesy the first time he was a free agent, so it’s hard to think the Knicks would do anything to change his mind. He would be stupid to leave the Warriors for a losing organization that can’t get out of its way. He knows this, too.
LeBron James has no interest in playing for the Knicks because he wanted nothing to do with Dolan and Mills, and quite frankly, the Knicks were more than happy to know he wasn’t playing for them. They never wanted him in the first place. It doesn’t matter, though. Players are going to be influenced on what James does.
For anyone that mentions Carmelo Anthony wanted to play for the Knicks, here’s the problem with this argument: He only played for them because he enjoy the quality of life in New York, and he came for his brand. It had nothing to do with winning or wanting to be the guy for the Knicks or the history of the franchise. He couldn’t have cared less about winning. It took four years for Dolan and Mills to realize that, which is an indictment of them for not being aware soon enough.
Good luck to the Knicks finding a sucker like Anthony.
The only way they can get a free agent star to come is if they trade their 2019 first-round pick to the New Orleans Pelicans for Anthony Davis. That’s the only route they can go to get that guy. Even then, that’s not a guarantee because players want to stay away from this amateur-run organization.
After Porzingis became the latest Knicks player to air his disgust to Knicks executives about the way the organization is run and being sent packing as a result of it, there’s no question players around the league are aware of what has gone on with the Knicks.
It couldn’t have been surprising Porzingis would lash out. It was bound to happen with the way Knicks coach David Fizdale messed with Enes Kanter’s head by not giving him playing time anymore after promising that he would play. Remember Marc Gasol pointed out the Knicks coach has had problems relating to European players from their days together with the Memphis Grizzlies, and there’s no question Porzingis put two and two (Kanter’s situation and Gasol’s situation) together and realize this is not going to work out for him.
In the Knicks’ world, we call it a Thursday that a Knicks player expressed his dissatisfaction with the organization.
Porzingis hasn’t been happy with the way the Knicks have been run for years, so the Knicks have to do everything they could to make it right for him. They failed him. They had a star they could build around, and they did not build around him or win with him.
Only the Knicks can fail Porzingis and then get rid of him and badmouth him on his way out.. Only they can run executives like Donnie Walsh and Phil Jackson out of town. Only they can get rid of good coaches like Mike D’Antoni, Mike Woodson and Jeff Hornacek, who were highly touted before they came to the Knicks. It should make any star free agent think twice about playing for the Knicks, especially the teams they play for are better situations than the Knicks.
At some point, the problem starts and ends with Dolan and Mills. Those guys have been the constant when it comes to losing. Mills will never go away because Dolan likes him, and Dolan is the owner of the team, so he is not going away. The NBA does not have any jurisdiction to strip him out as owner.
For anyone that thinks it’s going to be different, stop being stupid. This is reality. This is what it is. We have seen this before.
Only an act of divine intervention can save this franchise, and that may be too much to ask.