The NBA is a wild place and around the trade deadline it’s even crazier, today was no different. At 2:54 PM, this tweet was sent out by Woj and the collective NBA world was in shock.
The thought of Kristaps Porzingis requesting a trade was something that nobody had caught wind of, nor fathomed could happen. All hell broke loose and before anybody could even photoshop another jersey onto Porzingis, Marc Stein came in with this haymaker.
43 minutes. That’s how long it was in between hearing Porzingis would prefer to be traded, and him actually being traded. The last time something like this went down so quickly was when the Celtics acquired Kyrie Irving. That deal also from start to finish was reported in under an hour and the hysteria behind it has been matched by this one. From there, we finally got the nitty gritty of the deal and who would be going where.
The deal also included 2 future first round picks heading to New York. For the Knicks, Wes Matthews/DeAndre Jordan are buy-out candidates and I’d be surprised if either stayed on the roster for long. The immediate reaction to this is simple: “Why did the Knicks trade Porzingis for a guy they could’ve drafted last year instead of Frank Ntilikina”. The answer is quite simple, they want cap space and they want it NOW. With this deal, they cleared off the Hardaway contract, the Lee contract, and now they won’t have to pay Porzingis when he becomes an RFA this summer.
With the list of free agents this summer headlined by names like Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving (sigh), and Kawhi Leonard, the Knicks have gone all in. Many scoffed at the Knicks thinking they could weasel their way into Kevin Durant this summer, but it seems like they believe they can. They look POSITIVE that they can land him in the off-season after shipping out their best prospect since Patrick Ewing. It’s an interesting thought, but with a top 3 pick most certainly on the horizon, it isn’t too offbeat. The Knicks were able to hold onto Kevin Knox, Alonzo Trier, and Mitchell Robinson who are all promising young pieces for the future. Pair them with newly acquired Dennis Smith Jr. and that’s a solid young core. New York City, young pieces, and cap space for more is what the Knicks should pitch to star free agents in the offseason. They basically have a blank slate and can add whatever they want. Do I agree with the idea? No, quite frankly, I think it’s a REALLY risky play to trade away your franchise for some cap space. It remains to be seen if they can rope 1 or 2 max players in, but if I was a Knicks fan right now, I would be confused and furious.
Now the fun part to think about: The Mavericks with Luka Doncic AND Kristaps Porzingis. It is a match made in heaven and I cannot wait until we get to see this duo on the court together. They’ve seen each other for years in Euro play but finally are able to go out onto the court as teammates. To remind all of you, Doncic is 19 years old, and Kristaps is coming off of an All-Star appearance at the age of 23. While Porzingis tore his ACL last season, the potential is astronomical and for the price, it couldn’t be any more of a slam dunk for Dallas. For a franchise who has had such a tough time getting talent in the door over the years, they now have 2 possible franchise players under 25 years old. They also can take a flier on Tim Hardaway Jr./Courtney Lee and see if they can excel in a role next to Doncic. He’s such a gifted facilitator and has to be salivating over the artillery the Mavs have brought in. Dirk also has to be grinning somewhere as the Mavs bring in another stud hailing from Europe. He’s been such a great mentor to Luka thus far and he has to be excited that Porzingis is coming on board. I wouldn’t be surprised if after this season he retired and went straight into a role with the Mavericks where part of his job is to mentor these two.
With all of the Anthony Davis news flooding the internet, this came out of nowhere today and it is why the NBA trade deadline is the best in sports. This deadline also sets up for another roller coaster of an off-season with so many teams with cap space, the AD stuff, and any other rumors that flood through the pipeline. Free agency is going to be a battle for Anthony Davis, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Kawhi Leonard, Klay Thompson, etc. and the landscape of the league looks to have another extreme makeover on the way come July 1st.
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