In a dramatic move no one saw coming, the New York Knicks cleared a massive amount of cap space in order to be a player in the free agent class of 2019. In a perfect world, they will be able to yank Kyrie Irving out of Boston and Kevin Durant out of Oakland. But the world isn’t perfect. The Knicks can fail disastrously. But even if they can only get one of them, Anthony Davis’ free agency in 2020 will have the Knicks salivating and planning.
The Knicks traded ACL-injured Kristaps Porzingis to Dallas, as well as Courtney Lee, Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. They received unhappy point guard Dennis Smith Jr., and DeAndre Jordan and Wesley Matthews, the latter two possibly, probably to be waived so they can join the Warriors and Rockets respectively.
Fitting a Hollywood independent film that crashes to the top of the charts, the Knicks have covered both bases. They can be a free agent destination. And they can be in the Zion Williamson sweepstakes. Either way it is a win win. Unless bad news karma happens and they win some games they shouldn’t and end up outside the top-5 of the lottery. And Durant and Irving stay put.
Kyrie Irving just may do that. After draft night and before free agency begins, Danny Ainge can trade for Anthony Davis with a boatload of draft picks in his pocket and Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and whoever else Dell Demps wants. Having Anthony Davis in house, may make Kyrie never want to leave. But. On the other hand. Having Anthony Davis in house and him telling Kyrie he’s going to L.A. in 2020 will not give Kyrie confidence to stay. He may go to New York anyway. Which is what the Knicks are betting on. Not Davis in New York as much as Davis determined to get to Los Angeles. That puts them in the Kyrie front seat but only if they get another superstar. Kyrie might ditch New York and go to Los Angeles himself, now that he has made up with LeBron.
As for Dallas. They are creating their foundation with two European players as the headliners but Porzingis has an awakening coming. Yes, Dirk is his hero and he might replace him but in Dallas, Kristaps is no longer the best player. Luka Doncic is. Kristaps is now number two.
Regardless, Dallas is going to be a player in the West as Golden State ages. They still need a dominant point guard. But they have two up and coming All-Stars who can space the floor, drain threes, play at the rim.
But make no mistake. The Knicks have all the headlines. They are being crucified for trading an All-Star level player on his rookie contract. But this is a Pat Riley move. Go Big or Go Home. They were worse than mediocre. They were embarrassing. And boring to watch. They were losing the city to the Brooklyn Nets.
When D’Angelo Russell is the best point in the city- and I love Russell- but when that is a no brainer, there are deep Knicks issues. I guess trading Carmelo didn’t solve all their problems.
Now with a skeleton crew, the Knicks will take the floor as if Phil Jackson never existed. Every move Phil made has been summarily dismissed. He was a disaster and his memory, including the Derek Fisher era, is a ghost, which is a good thing.
Now it’s all about the lottery and July 1st and if the Knicks can pull off the biggest heist since the Decision.