Losing a Unicorn

By: Chris DuPrau @ChrisDuPrau

I had planned on writing about how none of us should be a work today.  The day after the Super Bowl should be a national holiday.  I had ways to make it happen, economic statistics to make it seem worth while and a lot of funny anecdotes.

Then, the Knicks happened.

I never believed in Unicorns, to me they were fantasy creatures that were either kind of girly or sacred depending on how they were being used.  Then I was introduced to Kristaps Porzingis, and I realized that Unicorns were real and awesome. 

In what has been an extremely depressing 21st century for the New York Knicks, Porzingis was the light, the hope and the dream all in one.  A 7’3” behemoth who could leap out of the gym, drain 3’s and eventually carry this team to the promised land.  His highlights tantalized me, his injuries made me nervous, but through it all I had hope.  Hope that the Knicks would figure it out around him (hopefully soon) and he would be one of the centerpieces that took the Knicks out of the gutter they’ve been in since they stupidly traded their one-time savior Patrick Ewing (when they should have just let his contract expire and use the cap room on Chris Webber).  Yesterday that hope, that dream, that belief died as the Knicks, out of nowhere, traded my Unicorn.

The goal of the trade with the Mavericks was to create cap space.  Having money to spend is like crack to NBA GM’s.  The problem is, especially with the Knicks, we often spend that money horribly.  By trading KP, Tim Hardaway Jr, Courtney Lee and Trey Burke for Dennis Smith Jr, expiring contracts and 2 draft picks, the Knicks will now have room to sign at least 2 BIG free agents this summer.  The hope, if any Knicks fan still has any is that Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving will come to New York, team up with a top draft pick (hopefully Zion Williamson) and form a new super team.  That sounds awesome, it sounds amazing, but I’ve seen this movie before, and it almost never works out for the Knicks. 

The last time the Knicks were able to nab two big free agents they wanted was 1996.  That summer they signed Chris Childs and Allen Houston.  Childs lost his starting job to Charlie Ward midway through the season and although Allen Houston gave the Knicks some memorable moments, most notably this…

The Knicks also offered him a contract extension so bad the NBA had to come up with a rule to help teams get out of bad contracts named THE ALLEN HOUSTON RULE!  (By the way, the Knicks for some reason didn’t even take advantage of the rule.)  They gave Jerome James a ridiculous contract in 2005, traded for guys like Steve Francis, Penny Hardaway and Tracy McGrady well past their prime.  For years, Knicks fans looked forward to the summer of 2010.   The Knicks were supposed to get Lebron and friends that year, instead we got A’mare Stoudamire who was awesome for 50 games and then broke down.  We could have waited one year to get Carmelo Anthony, but instead we showed no patience and traded for him, giving up assets the team needed to compete with Melo.  Big free agents barely look at NY anymore, and for years the team was good enough to keep themselves from a getting a top flight draft pick.  They couldn’t even tank right!

Until this year, when they finally learned how to tank properly.  They’re awful, and I am totally fine with it.  The Knicks are almost guaranteed a top 3 pick.  With a few moves, they would have enough room to sign Durant.  They could have had KD, KP and a top 3 pick.  Every Knicks fan was fine with this.  Hell, even if we didn’t get Durant, we would have had KP, a top 3 pick and at least a decent free agent.  After so many years of being awful and Knicks fan would have been happy to be a 48-52 win team next year with draft assets.   Now, I’m left with a point guard I don’t really like (Dennis Smith Jr), some draft picks that probably won’t be good, and a whole bunch of if’s.

If the Knicks get Durant and Kyrie, this trade was great.

If they get Zion, they’ll be amazing.

If Porzingis gets hurt, this was a smart deal

 If, If, If

In my nightmares I see the Knicks somehow falling to the 4th pick and signing Kemba Walker and Boogie Cousins.  A Pu-Pu platter of mediocrity.  In my nightmares, Porzingis gets fully healthy and forms a European duo with Doncic in Dallas that revolutionizes the NBA.  In my nightmares, the Knicks are fighting for a 7-seed and KP comes to The Garden and drops 50 on them.  In my nightmares, 5 years from now I’m stuck in the same limbo that I’ve been in since I said goodbye to Ewing.

Unicorns are real; they’re rare, but they’re real.  The Knicks had a Unicorn, and they gave it away for a chance at something that may be great.  They just didn’t realize they had a safer chance of something great already.  God I hate this team.

Keep on Keepin’ on

(Note: If by some chance the Knicks DO sign KD, Kyrie and get Zion I retract most of the previous 800+ words)

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