*takes deep breath, wheezes slightly, takes two (2) puffs of my rescue inhaler*
Don’t worry. I swear I’m here to be therapeutic (as of this point in the blog. I have a lot of thoughts and I’m not sure where this will end up. Don’t hold me to that). Look, I’m here to be objective. I’m not a Knicks fan nor am I a Mavs fan, though I recently did convert to Lukaism. Praise be to Doncic. Amen.
So, let me talk you through this by saying something to help calm everyone down. My favorite team traded away James Harden. Make you feel better? Probably not, because Knicks fans have been molded by a special glue made of anti-depressants and constant disappointment. So, let me take you through the stages of accepting that your team traded away a young star.
Step 1: Watch This Clip From The Wedding Singer While Looking At Pictures Of Said Traded Player
I swear on my life this is one of the funniest scenes in movie history. The second chorus makes me crack up every time. Don’t be afraid to cry, friends.
Step 2: I Hate This Team. Why Would They Do This To Me?
I promise you, this trade was 100% a personal attack on you and you alone. James Dolan fucking hates you, and everything he does is to spite you until the day you die. Just like Clay Bennett hated me until 2 summers ago by refusing to pay the luxury tax.
Step 3: Okay, Objectively We Got Some Decent Pieces Back
Key pieces to the OKC-HOU trade for Harden.
Draft Picks: 2 first round picks
Promising Young Player: Jeremy Lamb
Strong Veteran Presence: Kevin Martin
Centerpiece: James Harden, a promising young player in his third year in the league.
Now, compare that to the Knicks trade of Porzingis.
Draft Picks: 2 first round picks. Weird coincidence!
Promising Young Player: Dennis Smith Jr. Ok the similarities are a little scary.
Strong Veteran Presence: Wesley Matthews & DeAndre Jordan. I’m having flashbacks.
Centerpiece: Kristaps Porzingis, a promising young player in his third ye–OH COME ON.
Step 4: Rationalize
When Harden was traded, nobody knew his ceiling. And yes, Kristaps has had better seasons with a heavier load on a worse team, but this is a gentle reminder, and I can not stress this enough: YOU DID NOT TRADE JAMES HARDEN. Kristaps is an incredible young player, but he is not a GENERATIONAL talent. Who knows what his ceiling is, but it is almost assuredly not (possible multiple) MVP, and he might never be the best player on his own team, because Luka Doncic is that good.
And look, now you have 2 max salary spaces this summer, and you cannot afford to mess this up. Last time the Knicks were in this position, they whiffed on LeBron so they spent on a veteran with bad knees (Amare Stoudemire), which worries me with Kyrie and his injury history said to be an option in the summer. It is now fully Kevin Durant and Kawhi or Kevin Durant and trade for Anthony Davis this summer. Reminder: Melo was also a free agent the year AFTER the biggest free agency period in league history, but, and again I cannot stress this enough…AD IS NOT MELO (no fucking duh Jared). He is that much better. If the Pelicans call and ask for your picks and young guys, you almost assuredly have to say yes if you can pair him with any of the members of this summers free agency class.
That was easy. Congrats, you’ve now moved on. Unlike OKC, the Knicks can spend in the summer and genuinely hope to attract one or more of these guys. There is a real chance that they can and will land a major signing this summer. And they have to. This trade can’t be judged until July, plain and simple.
Bonus: Me Being A Wet Blanket
I just don’t get the appeal of playing for the Knicks right now. When they were last TRULY relevant, every one of these guys was just probably learning to play the game. So what’s the appeal now? Let me sort you through the Knicks free agency pitches that they can offer.
Uh, guys, it’s fucking 2019. KD signed a $250 MILLION shoe deal WITH STOCK OPTIONS while playing in Oklahoma.
We Have A Young Core Playing In New York City…The Mecca!!!
You might not even have the best young core in the state! The Nets play in the same city and have twice the young talent at this moment. Though I’m bullish on Knox, Trier, and Robinson, it hasn’t amounted to anything but the worst record in basketball this season. Of course it’s only Season 1 (Season 2 if you include Frank Ntilikina), but Brooklyn has had none of their own picks for about 30 seasons give or take, and they’re a playoff team!
Okay, But The Barclays Center Isn’t MADISON SQUARE GARDEN
How does this pitch sound to you? “Hey, you should come play in New York, where, after a debilitating season sweep by Orlando, you can take a 3 hour commute home in gridlock traffic?”
Did that do the trick? How about this one? “Listen, nowhere else on the planet can a team be bad, sell out every game, and then lose to a depleted Cleveland team, where you can think about how bad it is to be an employee of James Dolan during your trip home to Saddle River, where it will take you 2 hours to get through the Lincoln Tunnel, which has only one tube open for no apparent reason?”
You Get To Be An Employee Of James Dolan
Okay, I wouldn’t pitch that. In fact, I’d probably totally avoid that.
Good luck Knicks fans. I truly hope this summer is a good one. Because if it’s not, it really might be time to start considering if this team will ever be good again.