Will The Knicks Really Trade Kristaps Porzingis?
The trade rumors continue to circulate and our heart palpitations worsen. The New York Knicks are reportedly shopping their biggest asset and star in Kristaps Porzingis. A year ago, this would have been unfathomable. A skipped exit interview and a questionable tweet about playing in Los Angeles has jeopardized the young Latvians future in New York.
Is Phil Jackson really looking to deal KP? Is this some sort of zen tactic to punish Porzingis for his recent transgressions? I can understand the frustrations that the “unicorn” may be experiencing. The Knicks are a circus and they are not known for treating their players well. Acting like a prima donna, however is not going to work in New York. If the Knicks are going to trade Porzingis, they should accept nothing less than a top 4 pick, a lottery pick in 2018, AND a legitimate young player (Jaylen Brown?). Anything less would be a complete abomination and put our beloved franchise back another decade.
Like many other diehard Knicks fans, I would hate to see KP go. Kristaps still has two seasons remaining on his rookie contract, then becomes a restricted free agent. This means that the Knicks will be able to match and sign any offer given to him by another team. This effectively gives the Knicks complete control of Porzingis for at least the next five seasons. Why on earth would Jackson trade a player who could arguably be this years drafts top pick?
Five years is an eternity in basketball years. Phil Jackson will unlikely be apart of the Knicks in 2022. Why can’t a then 26 year old KP be a perennial all-star and happy in New York? Melo will be long gone, Jeff Hornaceck will have either quit or been fired, and there will be a younger core nucleus. KP would be running the show.
It also looks like the Knicks may draft Lauri Markkanen, who would be the third University of Arizona player drafted eighth by the Knicks in a span of 12 years. The other two are of course Channing Frye, in 2005 and Jordan Hill in 2009. Scouts say that Markkanen is basically a lite version of Porzingis. So why are the Knicks looking to trade KP? Can you imagine the matchup nightmares that two seven-footers who can shoot and rim protect would create? Play Melo at the three and sign a mid-level point guard. At this point, the return on a 33 year old Carmelo Anthony just isn’t worth it, granted he would waive his no-trade clause.
The prospect of having two top-ten picks does sound enticing. The Knicks have traded away so many picks throughout the years and it would be nice to finally have an abundance of slots. Drafting guys like Josh Jackson and Lauri Markkanen does provide a nice foundation. But what if Kristaps Porzingis turns into the next Dirk? Or even worse, something better? Leave it to the Knicks to create the most drama right before the draft.