It’s impossible to make sense of the Kristaps Porzingis trade

Porzingis Nowitzki

It was the day that most Knicks fans thought would never come. Kristaps Porzingis was meant to be the franchise player that the New York Knicks had been craving since the days of Carmelo Anthony and before that, Patrick Ewing. But as of 31st January 2019, the Unicorn will no longer be a Knick.

The New York Knicks officially traded Porzingis to the Dallas Mavericks for DeAndre Jordan, Wesley Matthews and Dennis Smith Jr. as well as two future first round draft picks for the Latvian Porzingis alongside the hefty contracts of Courtney Lee and Tim Hardaway Jr and point guard Trey Burke.

The trade is still fresh and at the time of writing this article, not all the details are out yet so this take is still fairly new, but it’s still so confusing. Why is it confusing? Well, look at it this way from a Knicks point of view; it’s a good deal because you’ve just dumped huge salary from Hardaway Jr and Lee giving the Knicks an NBA-high $71M in salary for the blockbuster free agency in the summer (we will get to that in a bit) alongside a young (potential star) in Smith Jr – who the Knicks should have drafted in 2017 and you’ve retained your 2019 draft pick.

On the other side, you’ve just lost your cornerstone player for next to nothing. You’ve lost your star and now you’re banking on one of Kevin Durant and/or Kyrie Irving signing in the offseason. And out of every single NBA franchise who is the one owner who you DO NOT trust to spend cap space wisely to make their team better? Of course, it’s James Dolan of the Knicks!

This could be like the Carmelo Anthony team where the Knicks decked their entire roster to bring in Anthony, thus destroying their team or the free agency gamble pays off. Has KD said that he’ll join the Knicks IF there are two max spaces available? How healthy is Porzingis? Have the Knicks just traded away their franchise star at his peak or at his injury ridden lowest? No one knows! No one knows what will happen here and the Knicks fanbase is waiting to see what exactly happens because fandom rests on the next six months. Get those two superstar free agents and this deal looks great; miss out on KD and Kyrie by getting Boogie Cousins and Tobias Harris (that’s not too bad, but it’s not the best) and the fans are gone. It’s as simple as that. They’ve been burnt too many times over the years to keep on waiting and with a Brooklyn Nets team on the rise, it could be rough.

And what this basically boils down to is the Knicks front office are banking on having Zion Williamson as the 1st overall pick in the 2019 draft, a selection of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Klay Thompson and Kawhi Leonard as a free agent duo blockbuster signing (Stephen A. Smith said on ESPN Radio that Porzingis was telling free agents NOT to join the Knicks, which explains a lot) and a core of youngsters around those two stars and Zion.

Allonzo Trier, Mitchell Robinson and Kevin Knox are the future of this team, but around Kyrie and KD with Zion around? It’s not too shabby, but that is a lot to bank on from the Knicks’ point of view. Remember when LeBron James and Dwyane Wade wanted to join the Knicks but the front office ruined the meetings? Yeah, that’s why this is a massive gamble.

From Dallas’ POV, they’ve got Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis, they’re potentially set for a long while. Add a good youngster into the mix and suddenly the Mavs become a good free agency destination. But this isn’t solely about the Mavericks, this is from a Knicks POV. It’s hard to wrap your head around this trade because it makes sense and it doesn’t make sense, which in itself doesn’t fully make sense!


Popping on the tin foil hat and you start to wonder if KP will sign his qualifying offer with the Mavs. Hear me out… what if the Knicks have done this trade to dump salary but the only way the Mavs will take the trade is if they include KP. What if KP doesn’t intend to stay in Dallas and in 2020 when the Knicks potentially have two superstar free agents and Zion, he rejoins them? It’s a long shot and it’s a conspiracy that this particular writer does not believe, but it’s fun to think about.

It’s a big move from the New York Knicks organisation, and it’s one that will take a long time to fully process. Porzingis could have been the King of New York if he really wanted to, but by all accounts he wanted out, and got his wish.

The Knicks got cap space and a good player in DSJ, all in the space of an hour! Is every piece of media right now sprinkled with a tinge of an agenda? Probably, because the Knicks have been successful in making KP look like the villain in this Shakespearean soap opera that we call the NBA and even if he isn’t the bad guy he will be seen as the bad guy.

As I write this out to you now, I’m still not fully sure if this is a good deal or not. No one can be sure until we see what the Knicks do in the free agency, what their draft pick is and how good Porzingis is when he returns. If the Knicks get Durant and Kyrie and pick Zion, it’s a win regardless of what Porzingis is like. Is the super team going to be Durant, Kyrie and Zion in New York or is it going to be LeBron, Kyrie and Anthony Davis in Los Angeles (have LeBron and Kyrie planned to reunite in LA since their days in Cleveland? Some think so…) It’s one big mess that no one knows the answers to that will affect everything in the NBA.

All we know is three things: 1) the Knicks just traded away their star player. 2) the NBA is amazing and 3) now that Porzingis is gone, Aaron Judge is now officially crowned as the King of New York City.

I feel bad for people who don’t like sports. They’re missing out on so much.

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About Tom Scholes 12 Articles
Tom is a sports writer covering NBA, MLB and MLS for Franchise Sports, as well as writing his new book "Stateside Soccer: The Definitive History of soccer in the United States". Tom has been writing for 5 years and has experience in podcasting and video production to back up his writing chops.

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