Knicks Trade Porzingis and Risk It All on Durant, Kyrie and the Summer of 2019

Feb 01, 2019 10:30 PM EST
Credit:

Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Kristaps Porzingis

  • The New York Knicks traded Kristaps Porzingis, Tim Hardaway Jr, Courtney Lee and Trey Burke to the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for DeAndre Jordan, Wesley Matthews, Dennis Smith Jr. and two first-round picks.
  • Matt Moore analyzes just how all-in the Knicks are on the Summer of 2019 and their pursuit of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving.

Look, I don’t want to put too fine a point on it, and I get Rounders references can be a bit cliche, but no kidding, this is the Knicks on Thursday:

They went all-in. All the way. With everything.

The Knicks traded Kristaps Porzingis to the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for DeAndre Jordan, Wesley Matthews, Dennis Smith Jr. and two first-round picks. (The New York Times‘ Marc Stein first reported the trade, the Athletic’s Shams Charania reported the pick inclusion.) Tim Hardaway Jr.’s massive contract, Courtney Lee, and Trey Burke are also expected to be included in the final deal.

Yep, the Knicks went all the way.

For months, reports and league insiders have said to keep an eye on New York with its well-known free agency intentions toward Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant.

ESPN’s Brian Windhorst and Zach Lowe both made mention of it multiple times on podcasts. None of this was surprising. What was surprising? Using Porzingis to pursue the cap space to chase multiple superstars this summer.

This all comes down to a few basic premises:

  • The Knicks felt their relationship with Porzingis was too far gone. Multiple league sources confirmed that the Porzingis talks have been going on “for a while” — as in several days. They managed to keep it under the radar which is actually a good step for the Knicks, who typically leak everything.
  • The Knicks presumably feel very confident in their ability to sign at least one of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. This gets them within range of two max contract offers. They can ostensibly build a superteam from scratch … if they can sign the guys.

Smith just got out of his own trade demand. He’s an athletic prospect with a lot of upside but no discernible real skills at this point. Jordan and Matthews are likely buyout candidates.

The Knicks got almost nothing for this, except the cap space.

Sound familiar?