As devastating as it was for the Toronto Raptors to see a 103-97 lead, with just over three minutes left in Game 5 of the NBA Finals, disappear in a crushing 106-105 loss to the Golden State Warriors, the biggest losers Monday night were the New York Knicks.
That’s because early in the second quarter, they saw part two of their three part Off-season Of Relevancy Plan, crumble to the floor. As for the third part of their master plan, well, he might be Brooklyn bound.
It seems that if the Knickerbockers did not have bad luck, they would have no luck at all. Let’s review:
- After going all in on a Zion tankathon, the ping-pong balls betrayed them and they will now choose third in the NBA draft.
- Their prime free-agent target just confirmed he tore his Achilles tendon, and underwent surgery Wednesday morning in New York.
- And Kyrie Irving apparently has eyes for the Nets rather than the hapless Knicks.
Your impressions please misters Steve Mills and Scott Perry?
I mean really, could anyone have had a worse off-season than these two already have, and their off-season hasn’t even started yet! You know what they say about the best laid plans right? The Zion Williamson dream ended on May 14, and it wasn’t a given that Kevin Durant was coming to New York with Kyrie Irving tucked under his arm either. KD’s injury really complicates things for everyone (him, the Knicks, and other suitors). Will Mills and Perry still offer the 30-year-old Durant a max deal? If so, Madison Square Garden fans will not see him in blue and orange until the 2020/21 season because rehabilitation from the type of surgery he just had is anywhere from 8 to 12 months.
There are rumors out this morning (Wednesday, 6/12) that nothing has changed and that they will eagerly pursue him nonetheless. That is risky gang. Will he still be the same dynamic player, and if so, for how many more years?
Think of the NBA free agency free-for-all as a giant game of musical chairs. When the music stops, no one, most importantly, the New York Knicks, wants to be left without a seat for their derrière! There is suddenly a very real possibility that what was speculated about ad nauseum for close to a calendar year is now blowing up in their faces. So, what does plan B look like?
Well, they could mortgage the farm and trade for Anthony Davis, who threw the New Orleans Pelicans and their fan base, under the bus mid-season. There is no denying his superior talent (a career 24 & 11 guy), however he is not exactly Cal Ripken Jr. if you know what I mean. Over his seven-year career, he has never played in all 82 games of a regular season. He has twice played in 75, but in the other five campaigns, has missed between 14 and the 26 games he missed this year.
Photo: CBS Sports
That, and what would be left in Gotham for AD to team with should New Orleans even agree to a deal in the first place? They are supposedly looking for the moon and stars in return, as they should. If you watched any Knicks games this season, you know they don’t have all-star caliber players to send back, so any deal would involve a third team (very complicated). Keep your eye on the Celtics and Lakers here.
Kemba Walker grew up in New York City, how about signing him? Keep in mind that in an interview with the Hartford Courant last summer, he said this of coming home to play: “I’ve been hearing it for years. Every time I come home, ‘When are you going to come home and play for the Knicks?’ I know it’s a special place, I was a Knicks fan growing up, always rooted for the home team. But I just can’t see myself in a Knicks jersey, only because I’ve only been in one jersey. I just want to do something special in Charlotte.”
Not exactly a ringing endorsement or a final decision for that matter. It could come down to money in the end because the maximum contract New York could offer him is four years and $140.6 million, whereas the Hornets can shell out $221.3 million over five years in a supermax deal! Home is home, but $80 million dollars is, well, $80 million dollars!
Kawhi Leonard is certainly worthy of a maximum contract as perhaps the hottest player the NBA has to offer right now. But, why in the world would he come here? No offense, but going to battle with the likes of RJ Barrett (or whomever the team takes #3), Kevin, Knox, Mitchell Robinson, and Frank Ntilikina to name a few, does not sound all that enticing to me. Yet, his good friend and confidant Cris Carter, tweeted this hours before Durant blew out his Achilles:
— First Things First (@FTFonFS1) June 10, 2019
At this point, Leonard even paying the Knicks a courtesy visit, as has been speculated, would be surprising to me.
Plan C would then consist of guys like Klay Thompson, Jimmy Butler, Tobias Harris, Khris Middleton, etc. Talented players all, but after Knicks fans have been dreaming of KD and KI, it would almost feel like settling for folks from the JV team. One cliche I learned a long time ago which I think is apropos here is: there’s more than one way to skin a cat. So, let’s actually wait until the first week of July to see what Mills, Perry, and James Dolan ultimately come up with. One thing is for sure, it’s shaping up to look a whole different than most NBA insiders thought just a month ago.
And that is My 2 Sense for the first time in a few weeks.
Feature Photo: USA Today