While New York Knicks fans are not thrilled with the return for Kristaps Porzingis, there are benefits to acquiring big man DeAndre Jordan.
The New York Knicks traded Kristaps Porzingis to the Dallas Mavericks for Dennis Smith Jr., Wesley Matthews, DeAndre Jordan, and two future first-round picks on Thursday. Adrian Wojnarowksi broke the news just shortly after reporting a meeting between the Knicks front office and Porzingis, and, eventually, his trade request.
New York has agreed with Dallas on trade that includes Kristaps Porzingis, Courtney Lee, Tim Hardaway Jr., for Wesley Matthews, Dennis Smith Jr. and DeAndre Jordan, league sources tell ESPN. Players and agents are being notified of particulars. Deal may include more draft assets.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 31, 2019
Smith Jr. is the player the Knicks were supposed to draft in 2017. Wesley Matthews is an eight-year veteran and valued wing defender. Jordan, however, seemingly could help right the ship ahead of New York’s biggest summer in years.
But as all great empires do, Lob City fell.
Paul is now competing in Houston, Griffin is stranded in Detroit, and Jordan spent the first half of this season in Dallas. Now in New York, most fans expect him to be a buyout candidate, making him eligible to join a contender ahead of the postseason.
But as the front office proved with the Kristaps Porzingis trade, the Knicks are planning to do what’s best for them.
In this instance, that’s keeping and playing the former Defensive Player of the Year. Jordan made it clear in his debut with the team that he’s got plenty left in the tank, and is here to play for New York.
We can get used to this… pic.twitter.com/tLg9oqasuJ
— NEW YORK KNICKS (@nyknicks) February 3, 2019
Experience, Veteran Leadership
Jordan is a guy who’s been around. He’s been one of the league’s best rebounding big men since entering the league in 2008.
Currently, in what has been a down year, Jordan’s averaging 13.7 rebounds per game. He led the league in rebounds for the 2013-14 campaign and has posted a double-double season average for six consecutive seasons.
I get it. Knicks fans are looking at this and then looking back at Zion Williamson highlights. Relax. The tank is not in jeopardy, as was proved with New York’s loss to the Memphis Grizzlies.
Fortunately, the Knicks are such a mess that even adding a top-five big man won’t push them to win games.
In regards to the tank itself, Jordan is no doubt going to have words for Mitchell Robinson. The 20-year old center has shown plenty of potential, but is still a very raw talent.
It’s not hard to see the parallels between their games, and head coach David Fizdale called Jordan a big brother figure when speaking with Zach Braziller of the New York Post.
“With the way Mitchell is coming along, the injection of a DeAndre Jordan — I mean it’s basically his big brother from a standpoint of how they play,”
This is just even more evidence that New York will keep Jordan for the foreseeable future. Robinson even told Braziller he’s ready to learn from the Knicks newcomer:
“It’s a good thing we got him now. It would be great to learn from him,” Robinson said. “He was a Defensive Player of the Year, and that’s something I want to be. I can take a lot of stuff from him.”
Robinson was New York’s second-round selection in the 2018 NBA Draft and is really picking up steam on his rookie campaign. The 20-year old is averaging 7.2 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.5 blocks over his last eight games.
Scouting for Stars
The Porzingis deal was based on the Knicks’ belief that they’ll hold the audience of a top free agent come July. Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Kemba Walker have all been linked to New York at one point or another.
They will all likely enter the market at some point over the summer to explore their options. New York has the potential to reach $71 million in cap space and expects to meet with at least one, if not two, of the bigger names mentioned.
Where does DeAndre Jordan factor in? Well, in at least two ways that come to mind. He’s played with both Irving and Durant in the All-Star and USA games. At the time, Jordan and Durant were quoted as being ‘inseparable’ off the court.
“If I were to get married today, he’d be in my wedding,” Durant told The Vertical about Jordan. “That’s how it is. That’s my brother.”
Jordan, in turn, reciprocated the sentiment:
When relayed Durant’s comments about being in his whenever wedding, Jordan nodded and told The Vertical, “For sure, he’s going to be in mine.”
Could he serve as a scout for the two players? Jordan will spend the next three months at Madison Square Garden. I don’t expect him to keep a daily diary on all things General Manager Scott Perry or President Steve Mills mention in passing.
But for Durant to reach out to a close friend in Jordan and ask where the front office is at, and if they’re truly working to change the culture, isn’t a ludicrous thought.
Additionally, and even less likely, Jordan could fall in love with life in New York. While he surely isn’t worth one of the Knicks two max slots, could he sign with New York for a lesser deal as a part of the potential super team?
Who knows. Well, I guess, DeAndre Jordan knows.
And that’s the point.
Fewer Minutes, if Any, for Enes Kanter
One thing Knicks fans can’t seem to agree on is Enes Kanter. Is he this obnoxious character who serves as nothing more than a distraction? Or is he an NBA center, who deserves the playing time he’s nearly begging for?
If you find yourself more so thinking along the lines of the latter, I’ve got some good news. If not, you might want to scroll past these next few sentences.
Kanter, if not moved at the deadline, will be pushed to the bottom of the depth chart. New York now has DeAndre Jordan, Mitchell Robinson, and Luke Kornet to rotate at the five.
Jordan is viewed as a leader on the defensive end, Robinson and Kornet both young and exciting prospects. See the problem?
As if they didn’t already, New York has run entirely out of reasons to play Enes Kanter should he be on the roster after the deadline. If they trade him by Thursday, then it will be Jordan’s arrival that triggered an even eagerness to move him elsewhere.
DeAndre Jordan is a former NBA All-Star, Defensive Player of the Year, and potential candidate for the Basketball Hall of Fame.
While he may be better off playing for a contender and ring chasing, it’s in the Knicks best interest to keep him around.