Instead, they ended up with Julius Randle and Elfrid Payton, and now, Porzingis is tearing it up in Dallas with Luka Doncic.
Through his first three games with the Mavericks, Porzingis is averaging 26.3 points per game while shooting 46.4 percent from the floor, 40.9 percent from three-point range and 72 percent from the free-throw line.
He is getting to the charity stripe at will, taking 8.2 foul shots per game. He has also been a force defensively, logging 2.7 blocks per game.
And he is just 24 years old.
And the Knicks traded him. For Dennis Smith Jr.
That’s one bucket of icewater.
Yes, I understand there was a whole lot of friction between Porzingis and the Knicks, but I find it hard to believe that New York couldn’t have straightened things out with him.
Also, there was the fact that Porzingis was recovering from a torn ACL, which may have swayed the Knicks to move him, but most likely, this was just the Knicks being the Knicks.
Imagine Porzingis with RJ Barrett, Mitchell Robinson, Kevin Knox and Allonzo Trier. If New York re-signed Porzingis to a max deal, it also would have had the cap room to sign Randle, if it so pleased. So you can throw him in there, as well.
That’s a pretty nice young nucleus.
Instead, the Knicks are being forced to watch Porzingis likely develop into a star Dallas while they continue to languish at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings hoping for a break to fall their way for the first time since Patrick Ewing in 1985.
Heck, being able to draft Porzingis at No. 4 in 2015 was probably the biggest break they have had since then, and they blew it.
As for Porzingis? He has gotten off to fast starts before, so, obviously, he still has a lot to prove, but now, he is with a better organization, and he has never played alongside of someone like Doncic, who should make him better (and apparently is).
Porzingis is not only a guy who can do score from anywhere on the floor and is improving as a passer, but he is also a defensive monster who can protect the rim like nobody’s business.
His rebounding could use some work, but he is so talented in other areas that he compensates for it.
The Mavs are 2-1 on this young season and look every bit of a playoff contender in the rugged Western Conference. People thought that might be the case coming into this year, but they weren’t sure how Porzingis would respond after sitting out for a year-and-a-half.
Well, it seems safe to say that Porzingis is just fine, and he is only getting better.
That has to sting for the Knicks.