I’m Hanging It Up
No I’m not leaving MFST. I don’t abandon people I love and I know I haven’t been doing my Top 5 Series, or my podcast, or my YouTube channel. I’ve had so much happen over these past months. I’ve been on so many adventures, but I’m back.
There’s honestly only one reason I’ve decided to jump back to writing full-time…
The New York Knicks.
What I’m hanging up, is something that I’ve cherished for a while. It’s actually not being hung up, rather being thrown in the upper left hand corner of my closet where the dust is the worst.
My Kristaps Porzingis jersey.
January 31, 2019 is a date that will be another in the chapter of the Knicks consistent incompetency. Kristaps Porzingis and his team met with the Knicks front office to discuss the state of the team’s future. It was reported through ESPN that the meeting lasted around five minutes. It was only hours later that the Knicks managed a trade deal with the Dallas Mavericks. The trade sends Porzingis to Dallas in exchange for Dennis Smith Jr., Wesley Matthews, and DeAndre Jordan. The Knicks will also get two future first round picks. Along with Porzingis, the Knicks managed to clear cap space to sign two max players in the upcoming off-season. To do that, the Mavericks also got Tim Hardaway Jr., Courtney Lee, and Trey Burke.
Sounds like the Knicks got a great deal right? The opportunity to completely put a superstar presence back into the team, playoff contenders, plus they’ll have a Top 5 pick in this upcoming NBA Draft to add to the core. And yet it feels once again like the Knicks keep going further down into the dumpster fire they started over a decade ago.
I’ve been a New York Knicks fan for so long, from kid, to teen, to adult, and I feel like I’ve seen enough to finally decide to submit my leave of absence. Not even this summer could make me believe in this team. For the entire time I’ve supported this franchise it just seems like it’s continued to do the useless blowup method over and over again. It’s a process that starts the same every time.
This guy was like the coming of Christ to New York fans. He was going to be the player to lead New York to the playoffs single-handedly. The team put around him was deemed a solid supporting cast for him to flourish in his role as a dominant point guard with the others being able to grow more with him. Failure. And the fallout left New York trading away their future assets to open up cap space to sign LeBron James down the road. With no major draft picks at the time due to failed trades, the Knicks could only rely on money to bring them out.
So here’s the second blunder. LeBron went to Miami and we gave his money to a knee surgery fanatic. A’mare was beloved by Knicks fans in his first season. Particularly because he was playing like an absolute All-Star. With the money the Knicks had left, they signed players who at the time weren’t deemed the impact players they became. The combination of Felton and Stat was absolutely astounding. With a pick late in the second round the Knicks drafted Landry Fields who became a consistent starter from day one. Sharpshooter Danilo Gallinari was our three-point forward who could do no wrong. Wilson Chandler experienced a revival as a starter for the team after being a near release the previous season. The Knicks also had a Russian center named Timofey Mosgov who was blossoming into a starting center in the league. The first half of the season wasn’t perfect but it was a major improvement. The proof on the court showed when Stoudemire broke the Knicks record for double-double games in a row, a Boston Celtics matchup that made the championship contenders look average despite the last shot of the game not counting for Stoudemire due to the time clock running out, and the Knicks were the frontrunners to sign Carmelo Anthony. And that’s where we reach our next blunder.
Why the Knicks pulled the trigger early is a good explanation. Anthony was at his end with the Denver Nuggets as he expressed a desire to be traded immediately with his preference being New York. New York would have the means to sign him in the off-season but they were concerned teams like the Chicago Bulls would make the trade move sooner and Anthony would sign an extension with them. So the Knicks office caved but not at the general manager’s expense but the owner. James Dolan has been a cancer for the Knicks front office for many seasons and it was his hands that were in the cookie jar for the Carmelo Anthony trade. It was a move that gutted the Knicks starting lineup along with key development pieces. The trade sent Raymond Felton, Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, and Timofey Mosgov to the Nuggets along with three draft picks. In return the Knicks got Anthony along with Chauncey Billups, Sheldon Williams, Anthony Carter, and Renaldo Balkman. The Minnesota Timberwolves also were involved in the trade and they received Anthony Randolph and Eddy Curry. The Knicks received Corey Brewer in return. Now that I’ve written these sentences I’m reading them back and bashing my head into a wall. The Knicks did not get back one single future asset that would improve their team. The only thing that made the Knicks attractive was Carmelo Anthony and his play down the stretch. Unfortunately, the Knicks would finish 6th and get swept out of the playoffs by the Celtics after essentially every important player the Knicks needed went down. Billups was out with a knee injury and Stoudemire couldn’t keep pace to be healthy for the playoffs. What was a promising team that was about to add a superstar, was already a failure. But suddenly, there was a kid who walked onto the Knicks roster next season on a 7 day contract.
LINSANITY! These were good times at Madison Square Garden. Especially, since the season was already going downhill. Anthony and Stoudemire were both injured and the team needed a lift. Enter Jeremy Lin, a Golden State Warriors reject brought to the Knicks on a seven-day contract. He made his debut against the Nets and the rest is history. Lin blows up as an offensive powerhouse putting the Knicks back on the right track and bringing the franchise hope they’ve found another piece to the puzzle. And Carmelo Anthony ruined it. This is where the Knicks made the mistake of choosing to side on a player’s ego than the good of the team. There was never reported effort to mend the rift between the two as Lin saw himself as a star on the team equal or greater than Anthony. It didn’t help Lin’s case when he got hurt in that same season that he wouldn’t contribute in the playoffs because he was 85% and didn’t think he could help the team. Now you and me both know that’s completely BS and Lin unfortunately can’t be wronged as he knew he couldn’t be in Melo’s World so the Knicks allow him to go to the Houston Rockets on a lucrative contract and just like that the Knicks are back to square one.
Simply put, this man destroyed the New York Knicks. Why? I’m still asking myself this question every day. Phil Jackson is one of the greatest coaches the world has ever seen. The Zen Master. I mean why wouldn’t the Knicks hire him to run the team? He’s a proven success. And he absolutely will go down as one of the worst executives in the NBA ever. He dismissed Head Coach Mike Woodson as he couldn’t coach the offense Jackson wanted the Knicks to use in the triangle. It’s the system Jackson used to get all of his titles, and he thought instilling it in the current league landscape would throw off the opposition so bad the Knicks would be unstoppable. He hired recently retired point guard Derek Fisher. Fisher was instrumental in Jackson’s tenure with the Los Angeles Lakers. The point guard is key to the leading of any offense. On paper this was genius but my goodness this was one of the worst head coaching hires in NBA history. Jackson set out gutting the team from top to bottom. The most painful losses were J.R Smith and Iman Shumpert, who would go onto win a championship with LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Jackson turned the Knicks into the definition of a failure. Going 17-65 in their first season under his leadership, it became apparent the Knicks were going further down than ever before.
Now when he got drafted I was shaking my head too. He was booed by the whole crowd to which he responded saying he had to earn the fans’ trust. He certainly did that. The 7’3 Latvian was phenomenal. He could shoot, dribble, defend, and so much more. His arrival marked the end of the Knicks futility with Carmelo Anthony sending the disgruntled forward to the Oklahoma City Thunder. I’ll give this to Phil Jackson he made a good choice. Despite the fallout of recent, Porzingis was the right choice after all. Now when the Knicks finally got their wits about them, they sent Phil Jackson packing as he was clearly not working out, but the damage was already too far gone. Porzingis skipped last season’s exit meeting due to his discomfort in the way the franchise was going despite attempts to refuel the team with youth. Now here’s where Porzingis becomes the bad guy. His brother is his agent, and boy is he a headache. He was essentially a voice in Porzingis’ ear consistently guiding him away from the Knicks and was the ultimate catalyst that led to the recent trade. Porzingis started putting himself before the team. His ACL injury destroyed any hope the Knicks would get into the playoffs during last season. It’s been during this time, Porzingis’ brother probably got the loudest he’s ever been putting out stories that his brother didn’t believe in the direction the Knicks were going. All this leads up to the recent meeting and where we find ourselves today.
So where do the Knicks go from here? I don’t care. No one wants to play for a failed franchise no matter how famous they are. If it’s fans don’t care why would the NBA’s free agents. Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Anthony Davis, along with other high-profile players will be on the market in the upcoming off-season. The Knicks wouldn’t have made the move they did if they weren’t trying to acquire two of these players. Well go for it. If I was them, I’d stay where they are or go to another team that is contending. It was Nick Wright from Fox Sports who said the reason the Knicks are the right destination for Kevin Durant is that the Knicks offer something the Golden State Warriors can’t, and that is his own team. Molded how he needs it. The same goes for every other high-profile free agent. Still I say run. The Knicks will never get to the next level if it’s ownership and front office continue doing the same process over and over with its players.
Kristaps Porzingis got too big for his own game, he wasn’t an All-Star yet, and he only proved potential not success. He is a punk with an egotistical brother for an agent. He’s still recovering from his injury and now he’s in Dallas where he has one job: don’t make Luca Doncic look bad. All he had to do in New York was keep playing and the front office would handle the rest. The Knicks caved off a trade request from a player who wants to put himself in a worst situation than where he was. Shame on them, shame on Porzingis. If he fails in Dallas, he will never achieve the success on any other team.
Between you and me, I have a small hope if the Knicks do become contenders he’ll come crawling back but that’s a dream. What is reality is writing this was what I needed to get this off my chest. What is reality is the Knicks are now on the clock for a do or die off-season. What is reality is Porzingis turned his back on the team and for that good riddance. His jersey will remain in that corner of my closet for the unforeseeable future and in my opinion, THAT is exactly where it belongs.
Dillon writes for MFST and you can follow him on Twitter @thedavistirado.
Hailing from New York City from the borough of Brooklyn, Dillon is a die-hard New York sports fan. He currently resides in Upstate New York, where he studies at Wells College in Aurora, NY.
Follow him on Twitter @thedavistirado and the other MFST writers.
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