Knicks Notes: Porzingis, Ntilikina, Payton, Garland

Despite the stance taken by the front office since the Kristaps Porzingis trade, the Knicks weren’t forced to deal their 24-year-old star last winter, writes Steve Popper of Newsday. Porzingis may have made a trade request, but he had limited leverage for getting out of New York. A restricted free agent over the summer, Porzingis could have signed an offer sheet with another team that the Knicks would have had the option to match or he could have accepted New York’s one-year qualifying offer, a risky proposition considering his injury history.

Either choice would given management more time to make the changes in team culture that they have been discussing. Plus, they had the advantage of giving him more money and a longer contract than anyone else could have offered.

The Knicks’ return makes the deal look especially bad. The $70MM in cap space that the trade opened up was used on short-term contracts for complementary players after the top targets signed elsewhere. Dennis Smith Jr. has been in and out of the point guard rotation and doesn’t look like a future star. DeAndre Jordan, whom the Knicks hoped would help attract his close friend, Kevin Durant, wound up joining Durant in Brooklyn. That leaves New York with two future first-rounders as the payment for dealing what was supposed to be their foundation player.

Porzingis, who will make his first trip back to Madison Square Garden this week after facing his former team Friday, told reporters that the situation could have ended differently. “Of course, of course. Of course,” he said. “As I said, I have nothing negative to say, it’s in the past. I’m grateful for those years that I spent in New York. It’s a great experience.”

There’s more this morning from New York:

  • Frank Ntilikina seems firmly established as the team’s top point guard after a breakthrough performance in Dallas, observes Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic. The 2017 lottery pick had 14 points, six rebounds, four steals and three blocks as the Knicks grabbed a rare road victory. “Frank looked great,” Porzingis said. “… I know his work ethic, his mindset. I’m happy to see him play and play well and show the things he’s been capable of doing.
  • Ntilikina’s emergence leaves the future of the team’s other point guards in doubt, notes Marc Berman of The New York Post. Elfrid Payton, who will miss his sixth straight game today with a hamstring issue, is looking like a questionable signing considering his history of health problems. Smith, who rejoined the team Friday after being away 11 days following the death of his stepmother, has shot a combined 1 of 11 in his last three games.
  • With the Cavaliers in town today, the Knicks will get a look at Darius Garland, whom they were considering taking if they had been able to find a deal to move back in the draft, Berman adds in a separate story.
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7 thoughts on “Knicks Notes: Porzingis, Ntilikina, Payton, Garland

  1. Jason Lancaster

    “Ntilikina seems firmly established as the team’s top point guard”

    Well, you’d think so, but the coach has other ideas…he’s not one to be restricted by things like best practices or common sense.

    • Exactly. Frank played incredible defense and looked ok on the other end too. The Knicks are not going anywhere this season, let him continue to start.

  2. x%sure

    The Porzingus trade came from nowhere… nobody was sitting on it… I’m waiting to hear about a secret deal with Irving that he renegged on, to justify the Knicks clearing the space.

    Nice to hear a national writer stepping in, but he waited until Zinger got off to a good start.
    —–

    Garland isn’t horrible but isn’t showing much yet. He & Sexton need to take that 14-footer with efficiency. They’re getting open but teams get them figured out.

  3. The Knicks’ FO and HC specialize in bizarre narratives, that are not only at odds with reality, but with their prior narratives. Of course, they didn’t have to deal KP6 and/or deal him for the bag of nuts they got. There aren’t a different set of RFA rules for the Knicks. RFAs have been trying to get around their lack of true FA since the system began. The team always prevails over the player in these situations, because that’s the system – and that part of the system works.

    I truly hope that Frank is just left alone in the starting spot (with starter minutes) for spell of at least 20 games or so (where he can play through his mistakes). He’s still a raw player and needs this. But I don’t have any confidence it will happen. Frank isn’t a Fiz favorite and his “chance” has come about through necessity. I wouldn’t be surprised if Fiz uses the first excuse he gets to rejigger things, with Frank back to having irregular roles and minutes.

  4. greg1

    Fiz needs to give Frank the next 30 or so starts to really get a handle if there is any way to salvage him. Inconsistent minutes from the start for a kid who was going to be a project is not in the least bit helpful, and is likely why his career has been so disappointing. It’s another lost Knicks season, finding out if guys like Frank, Dotson, Trier and Knox have potential to be building pieces should be priority one.

    As for the Zinger trade, they took a gamble and it did not pay off. It sucks, but at least for once the team was not going to try to build through bloated contracts and trading draft picks. The deal only looks bad because they were not able to land premium FA’s. They get criticized for using the dollars on average vets, but expiring deals that either open up cap space again next year, or give the team trade chips to land additional picks/assets is not the worst thing that could happen to this squad.

    All that semi-positivity aside, fire Fiz and sell the deal Dolan!

    • emac22

      I totally disagree that it didn’t pay off. It didnt pay off with Durant but let’s get a few years down the road and see how Porzingis and those picks work out.

      I’ll honestly be shocked if this trade goes down as anything but one sided in favor of the Knicks.

  5. emac22

    The Knicks never said they were literally forced to do anything. That’s just a lazy narrative.

    1. He could have signed the one year deal and simply left for nothing and the idea that you simply dismiss that risk is insane.

    2. He is not the type of player that you max out. He has skills but he isn’t best in class physically or mentally.

    3. You can have Porzingis on a max deal with Hardaway and Lee or you can have 2 extra first round picks and the option to spend the money you would have paid them on other players. I’m not convinced Porzingis, Hardaway and Lee are better than Morris, Randle and Portis. Neither one is a championship core and quite frankly the picks and tradable vets on short term deals seem more likely to pay off long term.

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