On the night of the 2017 NBA Draft, the rumors were fast and furious all over. Jimmy Butler was one player who ended up getting moved. Kristaps Porzingis was a name coming up in heavy trade talks on Thursday night as well.
There were several teams who had called the New York Knicks looking to make a deal for the Latvian star. One of which was the Boston Celtics, who had the #3 pick in the first round. Knicks president Phil Jackson reportedly demanded that #3 overall pick, Jae Crowder, Jaylen Brown and the Brooklyn Nets 2018 first round pick from Boston. Boston balked and instead, made their pick with Jayson Tatum.
The Phoenix Suns were also in the mix to make a deal for Porzingis and were offering their #4 pick in the draft. Phoenix likely balked at the Knicks asking price and instead, took Josh Jackson. The Oklahoma City Thunder also reportedly inquired as well, but reports said the Thunder didn’t have enough to make a deal.
In the end, the Knicks and Jackson hung onto Porzingis, along with the number eight pick and took Frank Ntilikina from France. Whether the teenager works out or not for the Knicks remains to be seen. For all we know, he thrives in New York.
But the Knicks ended up playing it smart on Thursday night. Phil Jackson made the right move in not trading away his superstar on the rise in Kristaps Porzingis.
A trade would have sent the entire fan base into an outrage; maybe even more so than when Charles Oakley got thrown out by James Dolan at Madison Square Garden this past winter. Porzingis is slowly developing and blossoming right before everyone’s eyes and continues to get better.
It might take the Knicks dealing Carmelo Anthony for Porzingis to reach even greater heights and be the primary scorer on the team. But that remains to be seen if that ever happens or not. But Porzingis is clearly the future of the Knicks franchise. With the team taking duds of lottery picks in recent time, Kristaps Porzingis was the first successful lottery pick for the Knicks in quite some time.
By trading him away, it would have been Jackson pushing an unnecessary reset button on the franchise by sending away the brightest part of the team that is expected to lead them into the future. Trading away Porzingis would have meant fans trading in their fandom for another team. And could you honestly blame them? Phil Jackson was brought in to make changes, not sink them into a deeper oblivion.
Selling off Porzingis would have done that. But he didn’t do that. Phil Jackson didn’t alienate his own fan base by ridding of the guy many fans show up to Madison Square Garden to see 41 times a year.
And now heading into next year, those same loyal Knicks fans will still have the same reason to show up and watch Kristaps Porzingis continue to grow into the star he’ll be in the NBA.