As of Thursday morning, the New York Knickerbockers were a non story in New York City and the NBA. They were bumbling along in full tank mode, trying to put as many orange and blue ping-pong balls in the 2019 NBA draft lottery hopper as possible. In fact, the David Fizdale five were in the midst of an 11 game losing streak, further ceding Gotham ground to their hungry, up and coming neighbor‘s from Brooklyn.
Photo: NY Daily News
Fear not loyal NYK fans, team president, Steve Mills and general manager, Scott Perry had a plan moving forward. Kristaps Porzingis, the centerpiece of the rebuild, would be back from rehabbing his torn ACL before long to lead the team in the future. Well, it turns out that the “Unicorn“ was not attending too many team practices, and word was he was not pleased with the “culture and direction” of the team. This mind you after Fizdale flew to Latvia this summer to forge a relationship with his superstar, rather than vice versa.
Photo: NY Daily News
By mid-afternoon Thursday, something major was happening in Knickland, so big that when completed would send shockwaves across the city, the league, and the country. Through the power of Twitter, here is a tick-tock timeline of how the unbelievable Kristaps Porzingis trade to the Dallas Mavericks went down.
First there were tweets like this that began to surface.
In a meeting with Knicks management on Thursday morning, Kristaps Porzingis expressed concerns about the state of the franchise and his future with the organization, league sources told @wojespn, @ZachLowe_NBA, @ramonashelburne and @IanBegley. pic.twitter.com/s2q5c2D4wl
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 31, 2019
“We started to get a feel, we could see that he wasn’t completely buying into what we were trying to do. And again, [during Thursday’s meeting] we wanted a confirmation from him whether he was completely in or out. He made it clear to us when he came in to meet with us that he no longer wanted to be part of our group”, said Mills at the post trade press conference.
Knicks brass felt they had no choice but to make a move, and in short order, Woj dropped this whopper, which sent sports talk radio into apoplectic overdrive.
Kristaps Porzingis left the Knicks with the impression that he prefers to be traded, league sources tell @ramonashelburne and me. Knicks are expected to commence discussions on moving him ahead of next Thursday's deadline.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 31, 2019
And then just like that it was done. KP asked for a trade and the Knicks obliged.
Hearing trade call has been scheduled with the league https://t.co/2r9ByLQszE
— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) January 31, 2019
After a few hours, the franchise announced the deal through their own account.
The team has acquired guard Dennis Smith Jr., center DeAndre Jordan, guard/forward Wesley Matthews and two future first round draft picks from Dallas in exchange for forward Kristaps Porzingis, and guards Tim Hardaway Jr., Trey Burke and Courtney Lee.
— NEW YORK KNICKS (@nyknicks) January 31, 2019
Once the shock and awe of the blockbuster deal, that seemingly came together within hours wore off, thoughts turned to what the Knicks had just acquired. Dennis Smith Jr. (whom the team should’ve drafted two years earlier -not Frank Ntilikina), DeAndre Jordan and Wesley Matthews were the warm bodies coming back, along with first-round draft picks in 2021 and 2023 (one of which is unprotected)
However, the headliner here is the amount of cap space the team will now have to lavish on not one, but two major free agents this summer. Tweets like this put their new landscape in perspective.
The Knicks could be staring at $74.6M in projected cap space for next season. That would be good enough for 2 max slots.
— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) January 31, 2019
Remember when I said earlier that this deal seemingly came together in a few hours? Well, “coincidentally”, or not, the Mavericks were the ones beating the hapless Knicks at MSG just the evening before. Hmmm…
Poof, Dallas has its new hot shot point guard and sweet shooting power forward combination for the present and future.
— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) February 1, 2019
It took some time to hear from the man himself, but Porzingis took to Twitter himself later in the day to thank New York and Knicks fans in particular.
New York will always have a special place in my heart.
Grateful for everybody who made this journey so special for my family and I. pic.twitter.com/q923ul3Wk4
— Kristaps Porzingis (@kporzee) February 1, 2019
Which brings this week’s My 2 Sense back to the title I chose for it: Gentlemen, The Ball Is Now In Your Court. Friday’s New York Post tweeted it in picture form. Misters Mills and Perry have to find a way to, after completing their “Eye On Zion Tankathon”, sign Kevin Durant AND Kyrie Irving OR perhaps Kawhi Leonard. Noted NY Post writer, Mike Vaccaro hit the nail on the head with his outstanding column on the trade titled: “There Is Only One Way Knicks Aren’t Colossal Idiots In Porzingis Trade.
To paraphrase him, the ONLY way is that if on July 7, there is “a large gathering at Madison Square Garden. Two honored guests sitting near a podium, and because we are fair, they can be any two of the following three names: Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving.”
— New York Post Sports (@nypostsports) February 1, 2019
With this big, bold move done, the real work begins. The question is, can Mills and Perry now deliver the goods to their long suffering fan base, or will this just go down as another swing and miss in a long line of them at 4 Pennsylvania Plaza (7th Avenue between W. 31st and W. 33rd Streets), New York, NY 10001?
Feature Photo: hoopshype.com