When you’re the New York Knicks, you don’t get the benefit of the doubt. You get the weight of James Dolan, sexual harassment lawsuits, general ineptitude, two-bit nostalgia, and bad, bad PR spins. As Gil Scott-Heron would say, you do not get to plug in, turn on and drop out; you get dragged through the mud for turning your franchise’s only player worth his weight in MTA cards into a salary dump. And rightly so.
On Thursday afternoon, just hours after leaking that Kristaps Porzingis “left the Knicks with the impression that he prefers to be traded” -- a face-saving last-second stunt so shallow it almost sprouted legs and kicked Charles Oakley out of Madison Square Garden again -- the New York Knicks traded their most promising young player since Patrick Ewing to the Dallas Mavericks for, again, cap space.
They also picked up two muddled future first-round draft picks, Dennis Smith Jr. -- who they could have just drafted instead of Frank Ntilikina in 2017 -- and some expiring contracts, all to open up enough space for two max salary contracts this offseason while also tanking to try and add a player like Zion Williamson.
But who are they hoping to sign, exactly? Kevin Durant, the man who is supposed to leave the closest thing to basketball nirvana for…?
[READ: Kyrie Irving's free agency is influencing deadline moves]
The logical thing here would be to assume the Knicks know something none of us do in regards to Porzingis' ACL injury and New York's free agency outlook this summer, but what in the last two decades has delivered legitimacy to that thought?
It must be that New York Knicks mystique.
The same chicanery-stained aura that’s won a single playoff series since 2000, hasn’t ever landed a free agent better than Allan Houston, hasn’t signed a first round draft pick to a second contract in 25 years, traded away Patrick Ewing for Luc Longley, tried to court LeBron and ended up with a caved-in Amar’e Stoudemire instead (there’s a reason he was available!), pitted Carmelo Anthony and Phil Jackson against each other (hint: no one won), inked a sad soul named Big Snacks, tried to reunite the 2011 Bulls before it was en vogue, hired Jackson when his heart, head, soul and surgically repaired knees were already retired in Montana, and, now, traded a 23-year-old franchise player for the cap relief needed to go big game hunting.
There likely won’t be much to show for all that money they’ll throw around this summer, though, not if 70 years of historical precedence and retail therapy have anything to do with it; maybe a maxed-out Kemba Walker and some fermented karma.
[READ: Kevin Durant? Kyrie Irving? Kawhi Leonard? The Knicks have their sights set sky-high now]
There is some poetic justice for Porzingis, anyway, who Jackson wasn’t even interested in, never even scouted, and wouldn’t have even drafted if not for the 76ers scooping up Jahlil Okafor the pick before. At the very least, he gets to play for a real NBA team now, and not a ponzi scheme exploiting legacy real estate on the burial ground of a once-great mecca.
Let's take this to your inbox. Sign up below.