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The New York Knicks Won Their Trade with the Mavericks

Yes, they did trade away their star player, but the Knicks are leaning on cap space, draft picks, and a lot of hope.

Head Coach David Fizdale and guard Dennis Smith Jr. are two critical pieces for the Knicks' future success - photo via Newsday.

Last week, the Knicks gave the NBA a shock as they traded away their forward Kristaps Porzingis to the Mavericks. Many Knick fans scratched their heads as to why they would make such a move, especially after the Knicks made a point to center their rebuild around Porzingis. But the Knicks made the move anyways, and now it seems like they are back to square one. Not so fast, as the Knicks actually are the big winners of this trade.

Draft Picks & Cap Space

The Knicks and Mavs trade had a lot of moving pieces. Here is a rundown of the trade.

Knicks received:

  • Deandre Jordan
  • Wesley Matthews
  • Dennis Smith Jr.
  • Two future first-round picks

Mavericks received:

  • Kristaps Porzingis
  • Trey Burke
  • Courtney Lee
  • Tim Hardaway Jr.

The trade might not seem like a lot for the Knicks but bear with me for a second. The contracts of both Deandre Jordan and Wesley Matthews are expiring, so they will only be brought back to the Knicks if the Knicks resign them. They also receive a player in Dennis Smith Jr. who they actually passed on in the 2017 draft but were interested in. Smith Jr. has a lot of upside, being an athletic guard with explosiveness to and at the rim. Smith will be a good fit in New York for the Knicks' future.

Speaking of their future, the Knicks are in a great spot financially. This summer they are projected to have close to $75 million in cap space. That is enough to sign two max contract players in the offseason. Putting it in simple terms, the Knicks now have cap room (or money) to sign two-star players. And with the plethora of possible star free agents this summer (Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving, Jimmy Butler, etc.), the Knicks can sign two of them. This puts the Knicks on the fast track to contending for a title if they can sign even one of those possible star free agents. There have already been rumors of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant coming to New York. Imagine that combo in Madison Square Garden.

The Knicks can build in the draft as well. They received two future first-round picks from the Mavericks trade, even though those picks will likely be in later years. However, at 10-42 on the season, the Knicks have a chance at obtaining the first overall pick in the upcoming draft. Zion Williamson will likely be the No. 1 pick regardless of the team that has the pick. Imagine if the Knicks can get the first pick and select Williamson, and they get one max contract player on the roster. That is enough for the Knicks to make some noise in the eastern conference.

Big Three in the Big Apple?

Kyrie, KD, and Zion...Imagine that trio playing for the Knicks - Photo via Clutchpoints.

Fresh Start

The Knicks after this trade have somewhat of a fresh start with their team. They have to get through this atrocity of a season, but after that the future looks bright. With a good coach in David Fizdale and some promising young talent already on the roster, New York is now in a pretty good spot. However, the Knicks will have to fight the stigma that has been on them for years: no player (star player specifically) wants to come to New York. The laughing stock the Knicks have become in the NBA since Carmelo Anthony left, and the job that James Dolan has done since being the owner of the Knicks don't help their cause. The front office for the Knicks has some fresh faces, and they are looking to have the Knicks back in title talks very soon with their recent moves.

The Knicks have a lot of hope in what they can bring to the table this summer, as there is no guarantee that any star player will come to sign with the Knicks this offseason. There is no guarantee that Zion Williamson will be a Knick either. So trading away a player of Porzingis' caliber seems like something you don't do, but after Porzingis missed his exit meeting after last season and had a five-minute meeting with the front office just last week, the writing was the wall, Porzingis didn't want to be in New York, and the Knicks weren't going to have him if he didn't want to be there. 

The Knicks did win this trade, simply because of the acquisition of Dennis Smith Jr., a guard with tremendous upside, future first-round picks which help them get young players, and most importantly, cap space. The cap flexibility the Knicks have gives them so much power in a possible star-heavy free agent class. Knicks fans need to hope that the team doesn't waste their money on unworthy players (Joakim Noah's deal still hurts for some fans). Hopefully, this can be the start of something that puts New York back in relevant basketball conversations.

William Ricks
William Ricks

I am a journalist who primarily writes about sports, but I also write about video games and music. I've written for multiple new organizations and have had success doing that. I love to inject facts and fun into my writing. I hope you enjoy

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