This season has been nothing short of disappointing for the New York Knicks and their fans, as the team sits dead last in the NBA at 10-43 and just traded away their star player, Kristaps Porzingis. With this year looking like an absolute bust for the Knicks, the only thing the team and fans can do together is look towards the future.
There’s plenty of reason to look on the positive side of the situation New York finds themselves in. The Knicks will have a large amount of cap space to spend in free agency this summer, an abundance of young and promising players and a high quality draft pick in this year’s draft. With that being said, the biggest factor is that New York actually has to spend their money on at least one, but hopefully two of the biggest stars in the game. They have the resources, and there’s no reason the “mecca of basketball” should host the worst team in the league.
Let’s take a look at the moves the Knicks are making for the future, and how they can set themselves up for success in 2019.
To be honest, I don’t mind this trade, but I certainly do not like the backlash that has come from it. Trading Porzingis away to free contract space and acquire Dennis Smith Jr., DeAndre Jordan and Wesley Matthews, along with two first round draft picks, is not a bad deal. In a dead season where Porzingis was coming back from a terrible injury, it would have been worthless to use him this year, and with his multiple health problems in the past, I don’t blame the Knicks organization for looking elsewhere towards another star who can bring more to the table.
While it would have been nice to have a homegrown talent like Porzingis at the center of this rebuilding period, his relationship with the tanking Knicks has been dwindling for sometime. I hate for him to come out and say poor things about New York’s organization, but it’s not like he’s wrong. The Knicks have been a laughing stock in Porzingis’ year’s with the team and anyone can understand the frustration that can come with those struggles. This move, however, is one in the right direction, and can hopefully help New York for years to come.
With No Stars, Who’s Left?
Not a whole lot! The Knicks best remaining player before the Porzingis trade would have been Enes Kanter, who will be a free agent after his $18.6 million contract expires at the end of this year. With New York reducing Kanter’s role more and more as the season has progressed, it looks like he will not be a part of the Knicks plan heading into 2019.
The biggest acquisition in the trade with the Dallas Mavericks is the former ninth overall pick in the 2017 NBA draft, Dennis Smith Jr., who averaged 15.2 points per game and 5.2 assists in the 2017-18 season and has averaged 13.1 points and 4.4 assists this year. He has not been a breakout star by any means, but has shown huge upside, and at 21-years-old has almost unlimited potential.
Other than Smith Jr., the acquisition of Jordan and Matthews do not mean much for the Knicks, as both are aging veterans, have expiring contracts and are potential buyout seekers. New York will return other young pieces like Allonzo Trier and former first round picks Kevin Knox and Frank Ntilikina, all of which can be key pieces in 2019, but will not make the big impacts the Knicks desperately need. If New York wants to contend in 2019, they will have to pick up other pieces for their bench depth.
Who Will The Knicks Pursue This
With a star-studded lineup of free agents becoming available at the end of this season, it will be fun to see who the Knicks pursue as their new star, or stars of the future. Right now, the public consensus among fans and analysts is that New York is hoping to rope in Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, both of which have player options to hear contract negotiations this summer.
Durant, who has already won multiple championships with the Warriors, came out earlier this season saying he will be looking for the most money this offseason. Irving, who was almost a clear lock to stay in Boston, came out recently and said to reporters to ask him on July 1 where he would be playing next year. These are definitely good signs for the Knicks, who hope their dollars will speak more than their play on the court come free agency time.
Fans in New York can only hope the Knicks continue to tank at this point, and receive the best draft pick they possibly can. A trio of Zion Williamson, Durant and Irving wouldn’t be so bad. Let’s hope Knicks fans, and look out for our next update in the coming weeks!