New York Knicks center Kristaps Porzingis was recently traded.
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.
Last week’s blockbuster trade of New York Knicks center Kristaps Porzingis left the NBA reeling. The team shipped the athletic 7’3” center to the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for aging star DeAndre Jordan and second year point guard Dennis Smith Jr. But some fans and experts feel hopeful that the trade can bring an end to the Knicks 20 year downturn.
“At first, I was pissed that we traded him for a player that we could’ve drafted last year, especially for a player that we could’ve drafted last year, ” said Queens native Tyrone Gayle, a lifelong Knicks fan. But now I’m happy that we did. Porzingis, as good as he is, just didn’t want to be here.”
For weeks, rumors have been swirling that Porzingis, who is out for the season with an ACL tear, had grown unhappy with the Knicks organization. He even went so far as to call a meeting with front office officials and coaches to complain about the “losing culture” within the team, which currently sits at the bottom of the league with a 10-45 record.
Matthew Miranda, who has covered the Knicks for five years with SB Nation and Fansided, said that as a result of his expensive contract, injury history, and his expressed displeasure with the team culture, the trade became inevitable.
“It’s a marriage that both parties were getting close to,” said Miranda. “Both parties had legitimate reasons to be concerned. Given his injury history, contract, and the lack of his commitment to the team long term, it just made sense”
Miranda said that Jordan and Smith can make an impact in New York immediately and draw other stars, like superstar Kevin Durant, to the city.
“The star of the trade is Dennis Smith Jr. He is the best point guard the Knicks have had in 15 years,” said Miranda. “Jordan is mostly significant in that he is best friends with Kevin Durant, and the thinking is that if he stays on, he can help bring Durant to the Knicks when his contract with Golden State ends this summer.”
Darryl Harris, a 53 year old Brooklyn Native and self proclaimed “die hard” fan, agreed.
“Dennis Smith is a prodigy, his ability is off the hook,” said Harris. “Jordans good too, he’ll fill the hole down low and be a defensive presence.”
Fans like Harris are hoping that Jordan and Smith can get New York back on track. The Knicks have struggled under the ownership of James Dolan, with just four playoff appearances since the turn of the century and their last championship title coming in 1973. Miranda thinks that much of the Knicks’ “losing culture” can be traced back to the team’s mismanagement of money and off the court antics of Dolan.
“It’s been a disaster,” said Miranda. “Ever since the Knicks won their last title in 1973, their history is mostly an undulation of them being bad for a few years. They sign big name players past their prime, they dig themselves into a hole, then they go through the cycle again. This whole century has been a repetition of that.”
The Knicks will enter the summer offseason with the most salary cap space in the NBA.
“I mean we are all hungry for the Knicks to win a championship, it’s been 45 years since we won our last one so we’re impatient, we want to see results, not the same losing we are accustomed to,” said Tyrone Gayle.
For now, New York City sports fans have no choice but to look forward to the future, as the Knicks struggles continue.
“Thank God for the Yankees,” Harris said.