Tag: Kristaps Porzingis

Knicks Trade Kristaps Porzingis to Mavs in Blockbuster Deal

Coveted Knicks star Kristaps Porzingis voiced his frustrations with team management regarding the organization’s direction, giving the impression that he would prefer to be traded from New York. His wish was granted as the Latvian big-man will head to Dallas along with Tim Hardaway Jr., Courtney Lee and Trey Burke in exchange for Dennis Smith Jr., DeAndre Jordan, Wesley Matthews, and two first-round picks.

This move opens up immediate cap space for a Knicks team banking on a successful 2019 free agency to crawl their way back into contention. By dealing Hardaway and Lee, New York rids themselves of two multi-year, $10M+ contracts to make room for two max contract slots in July.

However, Knicks fans are in shock over losing their franchise centerpiece for expiring contracts. Porzingis was supposed to be the cornerstone that the team was built around, but now the front office must start over to bring a competitive team back to the World’s Most Famous Arena.

The only player still on the books at the end of this season is Dennis Smith Jr., who the Knicks infamously passed on with the 8th pick in the 2017 NBA Draft for Frank Ntilikina. Smith was named to the All-Rookie Second Team in his first year after averaging 15.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 5.2 assists per game.

New York also acquired DeAndre Jordan, a former All-Star center who led the NBA in rebounding twice. He is primarily known for his defensive prowess and dunking abilities, a combination that has allowed him to consistently be among the top players at his position. He has earned a spot on the NBA All-Defensive First Team in 2015 and 2016, a year where he also made the All-NBA First Team.

The real implications of this deal come after the end of the season when the Knicks enter free agency with $70M to spend. If the organization is unable to land Kevin Durant as they plan, what is the next move? They just traded away the only All-Star caliber player on the roster, which makes New York even less desirable as a potential offseason destination. The city is known for striking out when it comes to adding big names in the summer, and if they are unable to land a marquee player, the Knicks may have pushed the rebuilding process back another five years.

Although the team currently owns the worst record in the NBA which gives them a 25% chance to land the #1 pick and a chance to draft Zion Williamson or R.J. Barrett, this trade improves the roster in the short-term. This should lead to a spike in wins and move them further out of the running for these high-level prospects.

The future is uncertain, but this organization is going to have to roll with the punches.

 

 

 

 

 

Featured Image via Flickr/Keith Allison

Enes Kanter Ejected After Scuffle With Giannis Antetokounmpo

After suffering a fourteen point loss to the Bucks on Christmas Day, the New York Knicks couldn’t bounce back in their rematch with the Greek Freak, losing in Milwaukee by a score of 112-96.

However, the real story was the altercation between Knicks center Enes Kanter and MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo. Following a collision between the two players where no foul was called, Giannis appears to pump Kanter before they went head-to-head in a very heated moment. Kanter was issued two technicals and ejected from the game as a result.

Enes took an elbow on the previous play from Thon Maker that would require three stitches, which was why he thought he had to leave the floor. He thought he was just receiving medical attention for the gash to his eye, not knowing that he had been ejected and unable to return.

Referee Brian Forte explained why he gave the two technicals to Enes by saying that “during instant replay review for the altercation, we observed an unsportsmanlike act by Kanter, and that is what led to his first technical foul. After the out-of-bounds foul, Giannis and Kanter came face-to-face, and so they were both assessed dead-ball technical fouls.”

After the game ended, fellow teammate Kristaps Porzingis posted on his Instagram story to express his frustrations with the way the whole situation was handled.

“That was some bs tonight!!!” Porzingis said. “And that bucks assistant coach needs to sit his ass down before grabbing Enes like that. Grab your own players not the opp. team.”

It has been a rough couple of weeks for Kanter. He had lost his starting job to Mitchell Robinson earlier in the year, but Robinson was sidelined due to an ankle injury that allowed Kanter to re-enter the starting lineup for a short time. However, in last night’s game against the Bucks, Fizdale decided to give the starting nod to Luke Kornet instead. Kornet had a career night, scoring 23 points while logging 5 assists and 3 rebounds. This was much to the dismay of Kanter, who conveyed his frustration on Twitter after being benched yet again.

His effectiveness on the floor has also taken a hit as of late. Despite averaging 14.7 points and 10.8 rebounds this season, his numbers have dipped to 10 points and 5.3 rebounds per game in the last seven days.

Hopefully, this altercation will motivate the Knicks big man to continue improving his game and return to being the scoring and rebounding machine from earlier in the year.

 

Featured Image via Wikimedia Commons

David Fizdale: The Player’s Coach

Learning the ropes as an Assistant Head Coach in the NBA isn’t always easy, but being able to do so under Erik Spoelstra and a Miami Heat team that won two championships in four years from 2010 to 2014  made it that much easier for David Fizdale. Among players in the league, Fizdale is known as a humble, personable coach who actually cares about his players’ best interest both on and off the court. Chris Bosh, one of Fizdale’s former players and a member of the “Big 3” with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, is extremely appreciative of Fizdale’s style and coaching abilities.

Fizdale received such high praise and recognition from around the league that he began to make a name for himself and was hired by the Memphis Grizzlies as their head coach for the 2016-17 season. Leading the team to a 43-39 record and a playoff berth, players like Marc Gasol and Mike Conley loved the culture and attitude that he brought and ultimately embedded into the organization. In Conley’s case, he signed the NBA’s biggest contract (five-year / $153 million) to date during the summer in the free agency before Fizdale was hired.

Conley articulated how grateful he is for Fizdale’s impact on his playing career. After signing such a huge contract, Fizdale was able to unlock parts of his game that allowed him to be worth the over $30 million per year that the Grizzlies were giving him. Unfortunately, the start to the 2017-18 season was not one that the Grizzlies had expected, starting the year with a 7-14 record which led the Grizzlies to cut the cord quickly on Fizdale. On the other hand, this opened the door for his opportunity with the New York Knicks where he resides today. Having the 3rd youngest team in the league with an average age of 24.6 and their franchise player still sidelined with an ACL injury, Fizdale’s task as the Knicks’ leader would definitely not be an easy one, and his main objective would be to develop the young players rather than attempting to make a playoff push. As Fizdale put it a few days ago:

“It’s about, are these guys staying in the trench to get better every single day? That’s our focus. We know the win-loss category is going to change when we become a better basketball team. So we’re not putting all our stock in wins and losses right now and our group understands that.”

Developing over winning is a tough motto to resonate with, but Fizdale’s track record has proven that he is up for the task and is in it for the players and their development as young men and NBA players. Although he has yet to subtweet Joel Embiid’s infamous “Trust the Process” quote, Fizdale is definitely embracing the process and understands that the Knicks are a project, one that may take years to come to fruition.

 

Featured Image via Flickr/ Michael Tipton

Noah Vonleh Vows to Bring Rebounding Prowess to the Knicks

Noah Vonleh signed with the Knicks on July 24th, adding some much-needed height to New York’s roster. With star power forward Kristaps Porzingis expected to miss extended time with an ACL injury and the impending release of Joakim Noah, Vonleh offers a short-term solution to this gap in the depth chart.

So what exactly does the former top-ten pick in the 2014 NBA Draft add to this Knicks team? The answer is rebounding ability.

“Rebounding has always been the biggest thing for me. Since I was a young kid, I was always able to rebound. I got a good eye for what angle it’s coming off and just going after it. That’s my skill that got me in the NBA. That’s what I get myself going with,” said Vonleh. “I think I can definitely bring a lot. They lost guys like Kyle O’Quinn, and Porzingis is hurt right now. Enes Kanter is a great rebounder, but I think I can help with that and bring energy.’’

This assertion is substantiated by his stats. Last season, he averaged a career-high 5.8 boards (17.1 rebounds per 48 minutes), including 6.9 rebounds a game as a member of the Bulls in just 19 minutes of action. Vonleh was particularly effective on the defensive glass, posting a career-high 30.2 DRB%.

During his lone season at Indiana, he was a menace on the boards as well, averaging 9 rebounds per game as a freshman before forgoing his eligibility to enter the NBA.

His numbers have improved with each passing season, and Knicks fans have every reason to believe that this trend will continue.

He has been working hard this offseason to improve upon his skills including his participation in training sessions with NBA All-Star Draymond Green, who knows a thing or two about pulling down missed shots off the glass.

Hopefully, a change of scenery is exactly what Vonleh needs to unlock his true potential.

 

Featured Image via Flickr/Bryan Horowitz