So The Knicks Just Traded Kristaps Porzingis…

 

Source: HAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA…

*takes deep breath, wheezes slightly, takes two (2) puffs of my rescue inhaler*

OKAY

Don’t worry. I swear I’m here to be therapeutic (as of this point in the blog. I have a lot of thoughts and I’m not sure where this will end up. Don’t hold me to that). Look, I’m here to be objective. I’m not a Knicks fan nor am I a Mavs fan, though I recently did convert to Lukaism. Praise be to Doncic. Amen.

So, let me talk you through this by saying something to help calm everyone down. My favorite team traded away James Harden. Make you feel better? Probably not, because Knicks fans have been molded by a special glue made of anti-depressants and constant disappointment. So, let me take you through the stages of accepting that your team traded away a young star.

Step 1: Watch This Clip From The Wedding Singer While Looking At Pictures Of Said Traded Player

I swear on my life this is one of the funniest scenes in movie history. The second chorus makes me crack up every time. Don’t be afraid to cry, friends.

Step 2: I Hate This Team. Why Would They Do This To Me?

I promise you, this trade was 100% a personal attack on you and you alone. James Dolan fucking hates you, and everything he does is to spite you until the day you die. Just like Clay Bennett hated me until 2 summers ago by refusing to pay the luxury tax.

Step 3: Okay, Objectively We Got Some Decent Pieces Back

Key pieces to the OKC-HOU trade for Harden.

Draft Picks: 2 first round picks

Promising Young Player: Jeremy Lamb

Strong Veteran Presence: Kevin Martin

Centerpiece: James Harden, a promising young player in his third year in the league.

Now, compare that to the Knicks trade of Porzingis.

Draft Picks: 2 first round picks. Weird coincidence!

Promising Young Player: Dennis Smith Jr. Ok the similarities are a little scary.

Strong Veteran Presence: Wesley Matthews & DeAndre Jordan. I’m having flashbacks.

Centerpiece: Kristaps Porzingis, a promising young player in his third ye–OH COME ON.

Step 4: Rationalize

When Harden was traded, nobody knew his ceiling. And yes, Kristaps has had better seasons with a heavier load on a worse team, but this is a gentle reminder, and I can not stress this enough: YOU DID NOT TRADE JAMES HARDEN. Kristaps is an incredible young player, but he is not a GENERATIONAL talent. Who knows what his ceiling is, but it is almost assuredly not (possible multiple) MVP, and he might never be the best player on his own team, because Luka Doncic is that good.

And look, now you have 2 max salary spaces this summer, and you cannot afford to mess this up. Last time the Knicks were in this position, they whiffed on LeBron so they spent on a veteran with bad knees (Amare Stoudemire), which worries me with Kyrie and his injury history said to be an option in the summer. It is now fully Kevin Durant and Kawhi or Kevin Durant and trade for Anthony Davis this summer. Reminder: Melo was also a free agent the year AFTER the biggest free agency period in league history, but, and again I cannot stress this enough…AD IS NOT MELO (no fucking duh Jared). He is that much better. If the Pelicans call and ask for your picks and young guys, you almost assuredly have to say yes if you can pair him with any of the members of this summers free agency class.

 

That was easy. Congrats, you’ve now moved on. Unlike OKC, the Knicks can spend in the summer and genuinely hope to attract one or more of these guys. There is a real chance that they can and will land a major signing this summer. And they have to. This trade can’t be judged until July, plain and simple.

 

Bonus: Me Being A Wet Blanket

I just don’t get the appeal of playing for the Knicks right now. When they were last TRULY relevant, every one of these guys was just probably learning to play the game. So what’s the appeal now? Let me sort you through the Knicks free agency pitches that they can offer.

Marketing

Uh, guys, it’s fucking 2019. KD signed a $250 MILLION shoe deal WITH STOCK OPTIONS while playing in Oklahoma.

We Have A Young Core Playing In New York City…The Mecca!!!

You might not even have the best young core in the state! The Nets play in the same city and have twice the young talent at this moment. Though I’m bullish on Knox, Trier, and Robinson, it hasn’t amounted to anything but the worst record in basketball this season. Of course it’s only Season 1 (Season 2 if you include Frank Ntilikina), but Brooklyn has had none of their own picks for about 30 seasons give or take, and they’re a playoff team!

Okay, But The Barclays Center Isn’t MADISON SQUARE GARDEN

How does this pitch sound to you? “Hey, you should come play in New York, where, after a debilitating season sweep by Orlando, you can take a 3 hour commute home in gridlock traffic?”

Did that do the trick? How about this one? “Listen, nowhere else on the planet can a team be bad, sell out every game, and then lose to a depleted Cleveland team, where you can think about how bad it is to be an employee of James Dolan during your trip home to Saddle River, where it will take you 2 hours to get through the Lincoln Tunnel, which has only one tube open for no apparent reason?”

You Get To Be An Employee Of James Dolan

Okay, I wouldn’t pitch that. In fact, I’d probably totally avoid that.

 

Good luck Knicks fans. I truly hope this summer is a good one. Because if it’s not, it really might be time to start considering if this team will ever be good again.

The New York Knicks: A Look At The Start Of The Season, What To Expect, And Where They’re Headed

***Editor’s Note: This is a guest blog written by Tyler Cunnington.***

The New York Knicks are a different team than they have been in YEARS. One with a ridiculously young roster, megatons of potential across the board, and most importantly, a coach that cares.

Yes, it has only been four games into the season and yes, they’re 1-3. However, in their last two games, they nearly took down the Boston Celtics and fell short to the Milwaukee Bucks. Against the Celtics, the absence of Gordon Hayward certainly helped New York out, who would not have been able to manage both Irving and Hayward come the 4th quarter. After mounting a comeback versus The Greek Freak and company, going basket for basket in the third quarter, the deep ball eventually buried them in the fourth quarter and the Bucks ran away with it to win by nine. Additionally, if not for the red hot Khris Middleton dropping 30 points on 7/8 from beyond the arc (Middleton is shooting 65% through the first three games.), the Knicks could have found themselves winning on the road versus an Eastern playoff contender.

Using that as a segue — one thing this group has going for them is their defense. There’s a lot of upside. They are 14th in the league in points allowed per game, 5th in steals per game, and 5th in points allowed off of turnovers. Frank Ntilikina, Enes Kanter, Tim Hardaway Jr. and off-season addition Noah Vonleh have all shown the ability to stay with their man and disrupt opposing teams’ offensive flow, which is a credit to their improving overall team defense. Kanter has been the anchor of the defense, providing rim protection in the paint especially without Kristaps Porzingis, who has been out since February with an ACL injury.

However, 20-year-old 1st round pick Ntilikina out of France (thanks to Phil Jackson before his timely departure from New York) has also developed more since his rookie campaign, showing flashes of great awareness and IQ on the defensive end. By the end of the season, Ntilikina could very well be a primary defender for the Blue and Orange, if not a year from now. In fact, the French Prince (a name donned by NBA Twitter) was ranked as one of the best pick & roll defenders of the 2017 season. Ntilikina’s wingspan and long strides help him get around quickly while covering the passing lanes. Vonleh has used his size, strength, and stamina to stay active in the paint and guard from the perimeter as well as provide a spark off the bench (Vonleh averages 17 min. per game). Note that there’s been no mention of the Knickerbocker’s second round pick Mitchell Robinson, who possesses potential to become a great rebounder and rim protector, or the 2018 first rounder Kevin Knox, who has great length as well. Robinson, however, has been limited after injuring his ankle versus the Hawks in the season opener and hasn’t been 100% during his minutes since — and Knox, who faces a similar issue after spraining his ankle early versus the Celtics two games ago, has been ruled out for three weeks. Both rookies must improve their footwork in order to make the basic steps towards being a good defender, but with Knox turning 19 years old this season, and Robinson coming off a year with no organized basketball – there is PLENTY of time for growth in all facets of their games, not just defense.

The Knicks continue to trend in the right direction this season because of a roster that has bought in to the philosophy of new head coach David Fizdale. The former leader of the Memphis Grizzlies seems to have found a new home at MSG and the players – and fans – have already taken a liking to the new hire. The faster paced offense, running the court in transition, and tenacity on defense are all new styles implemented by Fizdale, ideas that are nothing new to the NBA, but are to the Knicks — which is telling of the success the Knicks have had the past couple of seasons (among other issues and front office decisions). In fact, Fizdale did not start Knox (among other reasons, too, I’m sure) in the season opener because of his defense, and it’s been made clear to players you will need to play both sides of the court to earn your minutes. (And I love it). Getting the ball past mid court quickly, spending more time on the offensive end, and thanks to Kanter and Vonleh, and the newly added offensive rule that adds 14 seconds to the shot clock if the shooting team grabs the rebound – the Knicks have been getting up more shots and scoring more points as a result. Transition has become a new weapon to the Knicks as the youth of the roster allows for speedy breakouts, and athletic finishes — Fizdale also allows any player to bring the ball up. As soon as the Knicks can fully harness their shooting ability (specifically the three ball, especially in the absence of Courtney Lee), it will become even more lethal.

When set in the half-court, the Knicks have found several names on offense that can contribute with double digits in either points or rebounds. Enes Kanter has averaged a double-double every game, including a 17 point, 15 rebound performance against Boston. He’s a force on the boards, and in the paint – even flashing a newly added outside range after hitting a three pointer versus the Celtics as the game went basket for basket during the 3rd quarter. Whether it was wide open or not, the newfound range is an encouraging sign for the big man. Noah Vonleh played well versus Boston, notching 13 boards along with seven points, and scored 11 points and five rebounds against Milwaukee while also covering Giannis in many situations. Trey Burke shows versatility in his shots, slashing to the basket one possession and working the pick and role, while also hitting 16 footers and beyond. Burke put up a stat line of 19 points, five rebounds and four assists versus the Bucks, and nearly a double double with 11 and nine versus Boston. Hardaway has 104 total points which is the third most in the league, and barring an improvement in shot selection and field goal percentage, could sneak in as an All-Star reserve. Shooting guard Alonzo Trier has been a pleasant surprise for the Knicks as the undrafted rookie has already thrown down a soaring poster dunk versus Atlanta, shown range from beyond the arc, and displayed the ability to isolate and score (hence his twitter handle ISO_ZO). Other names that over time can develop a solid offensive game include center Noah Vonleh and second year guard Dameyon Dotson (who scored 14 pts last night). What’s encouraging about the Knicks offense is how much the young players can develop while also establishing their roles on offense without too much pressure to win. On top of it all, they are missing the All-Star talent, and heart of the team, Kristaps Porzingis. The upside of this Knicks team must excite the fans watching at home because, everything that can be accomplished without the Unicorn is an added bonus.

This season is essentially a showcase to garner any free agent interest this Summer. With Kristaps Porzingis fully healthy next year, if the Knicks can perform well this season (“Well” being anywhere from 25-35 wins, or above a .500 record), it could make for an intriguing 2019-2020 campaign with the playoffs in its sights.

The New York Knickerbockers have only played four games, and it may feel like the usual style of losing, but do not fear. This organization is on its way out of the tanking phase. In a few season, the Knicks should return to the exciting brand of basketball many fans remember from years past, whether it was #Knickstape at the start of the decade, or the 1990s. Regardless, fans should not lament another Knicks season but rather welcome it – there’s plenty to look out for this season and you don’t want to miss the start of a new era at MSG.

Three Moves The Knicks Need To Make At The Trade Deadline

When Kristaps Porzingis went down clutching his left knee in gruesome pain, Knicks fans collectively held their breath. Of course, hours later our nightmares became a reality, as an MRI revealed Zinger in fact tore his ACL. The injury destroyed the morale around the team and brought a shocking reality to the doom this franchise has unfortunately become accustomed to recently. That has to be one of the worst nights in Knicks regular season history that we will certainly remember for a long time.

The Knicks fell to 23-32 in blowout fashion Tuesday night, which was amplified by injuries to Tim Hardaway, whose spirit already left the building after Giannis jumped over him for a vociferous dunk, and a bloody Enes Kanter, who needed oral surgery today. The boggling first move immediately following the Porzingis injury by GM Scott Perry was shipping a disgruntled Willy Hernangomez to Charlotte for Johnny O’Bryant, who was waived, and two second round picks in 2020 and 2021.

Executives Steve Mills and Scott Perry have some major decisions ahead with an injured star, who will be a restricted free agent after next season. Do they still give him the max extension prior to Kristaps proving he can still be the centerpiece of a franchise? Does he retain a coach who is clearly flawed and losing the team? This is one of the worst crunch time execution Knick teams I’ve ever seen.

With not many attractive assets and very little cap room this summer, Perry has his work cut out for him to make this organization a contender once again. The first order of business, setting the franchise in the right direction with the trade deadline Thursday afternoon.

It sounds like the Knicks finally realized they are not heading to the post-season and are going to finally commit to developing their young talent in the final 27 games, as G-Leaguers Luke Kornet and Isaiah Hicks have been called up.

Here are three potential trades the Knicks should make to jumpstart the rebuilding process, while tanking for a better pick, which could be a blessing in disguise (If Zinger 100% recovers).

Trade 1. Joakim Noah, Jarrett Jack and Chicago’s 2018 2nd round pick to Orlando for Bismack Biyombo and Elfrid Payton

Screen Shot 2018-02-07 at 6.35.20 PM

The Knicks need to do whatever they can to get Noah out of NYC. Biyombo’s similarly poorly structured contract makes him a good swap candidate for Joakim. Payton is an interesting prospect who the Magic may not bring back after this season. Current GM Scott Perry was a part of the team that moved up to select Elfrid 10th overall back in 2014. He would bring much needed stability and athleticism to the point guard position.

Trade 2. Courtney Lee and Lance Thomas to Cleveland for Iman Shumpert and Channing Frye

Screen Shot 2018-02-07 at 6.46.08 PM

Cleveland needs to shake things up at the deadline and everyone knows they are dangling the adequate package of Iman Shumpert and Channing Frye’s expiring contract. Courtney Lee and Lance Thomas are both solid two-way players, who fit the mold of unselfish shooters that are versatile enough to play beside LeBron. NYK earns $7 million in relief for this off-season and only has Iman’s $10 mill on the books for flexibility in 2018.

Trade 3. Kyle O’Quinn and Doug McDermott to Golden State for Nick Young, Kevon Looney and Patrick McCaw

Screen Shot 2018-02-07 at 6.57.43 PM.png

What better thank you gift for a player than to be shipped to the eventual champs. It’s your lucky day Kyle O’Quinn and Doug McDermott. The move gives the Knicks $4 million in cap relief this summer and we get Swaggy P in the Garden! That will sell some tickets the rest of the season, damn it! The deal also gives the tanking Bockers a look at potential rotation players for the future in Kevon Looney and Patrick McCaw, who are still on expiring rookie deals.

Breaking: Kristaps Porzingis Tears ACL, Out For Season

I’m not crying. You’re crying. Our future. Our unicorn. Our boy, Kristaps Porzingis, is now done for the year after tearing his ACL on Tuesday night. You prayed it wasn’t serious. You prayed that he might just be able to walk it off. These reactions alone tell the story.

Let me translate that one for you.

“Shit.”

The Knicks season was fading, but it wasn’t lost. Now, I don’t even know what to think. Our future just suffered a serious knee injury, which is something that could and will affect him for the rest of his life. I just don’t know anymore. The Knicks can’t catch a break.

Why, god?