Basketball Drama Brewing in the Big Apple

New York currently has a bigger problem than the polar vortex.

With the NBA trade deadline less than a week away, all eyes have shifted to the situation building in New York City. Per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Knicks star forwards Kristaps Porzingis met with team management to express concern in his long-term future with the team and even gave them the feeling that he would like to be out of New York. This comes only a few days after his name has been circulated in rumors about potential trades for Pelicans superstar Anthony Davis. 

This is not the first time Porzingis has met with the Knicks brass. Tension between the two sides has long been the story since Phil Jackson drafted KP in 2015. There has also been broken communication between the two parties throughout Porzingis’s rehab from a torn ACL (which I witnessed in person. I think it’s now fair to say I watched KP’s last game as a Knick with my own eyes – yeah, that’s the only pride you can get as a Knicks fan).

The Latvian’s frustration with the team seems to be due to a concern about building a winning culture. In Porzingis’s tenure with the Knicks, New York has failed to make the playoffs even once. 

To me, this position and the timing of this statement is incredibly confusing. The Knicks are indeed dead last in the NBA rankings, but that shouldn’t come as a surprise. Steve Mills and the Knicks front office have made it very clear that they are trying to build a winner in New York through the draft and free agency, specifically with their crosshairs locked on Duke phenom Zion Williamson and NBA superstar Kevin Durant. At 10-40 and with tons of cap space for the summer of 2019, they are in perfect position to execute on their strategy.

For Porzingis to demand this trade right now is more baffling than anything, especially since the Knicks hold all of the leverage in his future next year due to his Restricted Free Agent status. Additionally, Porzingis seems to fail to realize that his injury has historically negative impacts on players, and without playing a minute on the court since, all 30 NBA teams will hold reservations on his abilities. 

Some are comparing this demand for a trade to the recent AD request, but I don’t see them as similar. Porzingis is younger, less accomplished, and is still rehabbing from a career-changing injury. Davis has given his all to New Orleans for seven years and earned All-NBA accolades along the way; Porzingis hasn’t done the same with New York. 

Yes, KP is an incredibly versatile player and a likeable personality (prior to this stunt). And yet, it looks like Carmelo Anthony’s greed has worn off on the 23-year-old. Now Porzingis seems to be forcing his way out of New York. I’ve always been a huge KP fan, but begrudgingly, I’ll hold the same opinion as I do with any player who creates a toxic team environment: See ya, and don’t let the door hit you on your way out. (I can’t believe I just said that about Kristaps Porzingis…)

Purveyor of truth. Breaker of chains. Foolish fan of the Mets, Jets, and Knicks.