It's hard to name all the moves that happened in free agency, so the Porzingis trade that occurred on January 31st seems like a century ago. The Knicks fans were furious that the team was trading their best player (and asset) for Dennis Smith Jr., DeAndre Jordan, Wesley Matthews, 2021 1st round draft pick, and a 2023 1st round draft pick (top 10 protected).
More so, Porzingis went from being booed by Knicks fans at draft night to becoming a fan favorite with his attitude and the way he handled New York and the bright lights of Madison Square Garden. It's hard to find a player that wants to play for the Knicks (James Dolan), is a star with All-NBA potential AND on top it all fits with New York's state of mind.
The trade was a play to clear cap space for Durant and Kyrie, who, as we know, did up in New York, but they opted for a different neighborhood. The consolation prie for the Knicks was the Draft, where they also struck out on Zion but got R.J. Barrett instead. We will see if R.J. can become a great player, but he said he wants to be in NYC and will thrive under the spotlight of MSG. He got a taste of what's about to come at his first press conference.
When asked who he'd most like to posterize, R.J. said Porzingis. THere's a New York answer for you. The star that said he doesn't want to be in New York anymore is the perfect answer to make the fans fall in love with you. It didn't take long for Porzingis to reply (via Brad Townsend):
“That’s fine. I’m a shot-blocker, despite what some people are saying. I’m one of the best shot-blockers in the league and I’m always up for the challenge.”
We won't have to wait long for their matchup. Friday, November 8th, in Dallas at 8:30 pm ET, R.J. will have his first chance. Six days later, on the 14th, they meet again in MSG. Tune in for the show.