Evaluating the Knicks Trade


Matt Chirico, Sports Writer

This past Friday, the New York Knicks agreed to a trade that would send Kristaps Porzingis, Courtney Lee, Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. to the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for Deandre Jordan, Wesley Matthews, Dennis Smith Jr., a 2021 first round pick (top 10 protected) and a 2023 first round pick.

It was first thought that the trade came about directly after a meeting that Porzingis had with the Knicks front office, stating that he was unhappy and wished to be traded, but turns out the Knicks had been shopping the Latvian big man since early January. Porzingis had then confirmed in the meeting that if the Knicks did not trade him before the February 7 deadline, he would return to Spain to continue rehabbing his torn ACL.

Although many Knicks fans felt that Porzingis would be the savior of the franchise, the 7 foot 3 inch power forward had other ideas.

Despite the fan base missing its former “unicorn,” the Knicks put themselves in the best spot to land a superstar in this coming summers free agency. The Knicks now have 74.5 million dollars in cap space, over 10 million more than the next team (Los Angeles Clippers, 61.7 mil).

Now some may ask, why would a superstar free agent such as Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving or Anthony Davis want to be a Knick? Multiple reasons. Being that the Knicks have $74 million in cap space, there is enough money to sign two superstars rather than one. This makes the idea of a Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving lead team much more possible. Knowing that another superstar could join them would be much more appealing to a player than knowing it was just them. Although, cap space is not the only appealing part of New York.

Aside from Madison Square Garden being considered the “mecca of basketball” the Knicks also have some rising stars in Dennis Smith Jr., Kevin Knox, Allonzo Trier, Mitchell Robinson and Frank Ntilikina. With the average age of this group being only 19 years old, there is still much room for development. Along with this young core, the Knicks also have 7 draft picks within the next 5 years, making a rebuild through the draft much more possible.

For the Knicks, the Porzingis trade only set them up for a better future. Now, the sales pitch to a superstar is no longer “come play with Porzingis and our young guys” but is now “come play in New York, pick a superstar you want as a teammate, and build your own team through the draft.” For someone who has been extremely criticized for going to an already established team, this might be the opportunity Kevin Durant needs to solidify his legacy. Along with Durant wanting to be one of basketballs greats, the Knicks front office also plans on giving his best friend and representative a job in the organization.

Now what happens if the Knicks strike out on free agents this summer? Obviously this is the worst outcome for the team, but the rebuild will still continue around the young core. So even if a superstar free agent does not end up in New York this summer, there are brighter days ahead for Knicks fans.