You said it, Yosemite Sam.
It just never occurred to me until now that the beloved and beleaguered cartoon character foil of Bugs Bunny was a closet Knicks fan all these years.
I mean, seriously, what’s a Knicks fan to do right about now?
Where’s Anthony Davis?
How about our Unicorn?
Didn’t we at least get another pick this summer for KP?
As the immortal Sam Kinison might say if he were alive to see this latest misadventure in Knickerbocker Land, “OOOHHH, OOOHHH, OOOHHH,” followed by guttural, retching noises.
And I’m not being overly dramatic here. You’d think us Knicks fans would be immune to this sort of thing by now, but nah. Every new misstep is a fresh shot to the solar plexus.
Let’s review: A couple of nights ago the Knicks realized what has appeared to be their destiny since this stink bomb of a season began back in October, when they lost yet again and claimed undisputed possession of the NBA’s worst record.
Then the fates threw us fans a brief lifeline of hope. Anthony Davis asked the Pelicans for a trade, and simply due to a roster loaded with bloated contracts and lots of cap space, the Knicks were considered a possibility to acquire arguably the league’s best big man. Slim chance, yes, but a chance nonetheless.
However, before even an offer could be made for The Brow, a story broke that franchise cornerstone and lone Knicks building block, Kristaps Porzingis, had asked to be traded. Apparently the bright 23-year-old was concerned about the current state of the Knicks and their “plan” for the future. Gee, can’t imagine that, can you?
I had not even had the chance to validate if the KP trade-request story was “fake news” before the Knicks had shipped their 7’3″, face of the franchise off to Dallas. Huh?
We also included in the trade the team’s only scoring threat (and yes, his ridiculous, above-market contract — we live for silver linings here in Knicks Land); one of our collection of miscast point guards; and a guy who makes north of $10 million a year but Coach Fizdale chooses not to play (in case you aren’t sure, as there are multiple characters in this Greek Tragedy of an organization that fit that description, we’re talking about Courtney Lee).
In return we get Dennis Smith, a shoot-first, second-year point guard surrounded by question marks about his upside. Understandably, the Knicks brass had tired of reading about how they had passed up Smith when they selected Frank Ntilikina in the first round of the draft a year ago (thanks again, Big Chief Triangle), so they decided to bring Smith aboard and provide us this reminder nightly. At the same time, adding Smith also allows the Knicks to keep the number of point guards on the roster who were taken with Top 10 draft picks at three. You’ve gotta lead the league in something, I suppose.
Yes, in return we received two first-rounders, but I haven’t completed my logarithm yet that we need to decipher all that must transpire for us to actually use these future picks, not to mention where these picks are likely to fall in the draft order. Lastly, we accepted two serviceable veterans (with, most importantly, large, expiring contracts).
Those veterans, Wesley Matthews and DeAndre Jordan, initially were announced as keepers for the balance of this season, to provide a steadying influence on the young Knicks roster (and maybe help break the franchise-record home losing streak currently at 13 games and counting). The following day that stance was amended to indicate both players would soon be released. Okay.
And yes, I’ve heard the optimistic spin we fans could choose to apply in the aftermath of this latest teardown of the already-in-progress teardown. One more time. Huh?
Now our Knickerbockers have cap space for not just one, but two max deals this summer! Not to mention we keep our prized draft pick (we have a 14% chance of the top overall pick, but it could also drop as low as #5, even if we keep our current stranglehold on the league’s worst record — and yes I’m jaded, but if I had to hazard a guess as to whether the Knicks ultimate draft slot will be nearer #1 or #5, I know which end of that pendulum I’d select).
Then yesterday the spin campaign heated up in earnest. A New York Post article quoted an “unnamed” league executive, who claims the Knicks know they will be able to acquire Kevin Durant this summer as a free agent, thus making the Porzingis trade a stroke of genius. Hmmm…
I can’t help but wonder if this “unnamed” exec answers to the name Steve Mills? And the Knicks are “confident” and “certain” that Durant may be coming aboard? If you listen to the skinny superstar talk, it sounds like even he doesn’t know what he’s going to do this summer. In fact, the only thing Durant has ever been clear on about the Knicks is that he loved Porzingis’s upside — coining the “Unicorn” nickname a couple of years back. But Durant’s dad is a Knicks fan, so, okay, that’s good enough for me — KD’s coming!
All I know is that today will begin the era of Dennis Smith as a 30 points per game scorer, because there is literally nobody else remaining on this New York roster capable of putting the ball in the hoop. Oh, except for Enes Kanter. But he’s chained to the bench because Fiz has youngsters to develop.
A quick aside on Coach Fizdale — he was run out of town following a surprise playoff berth in Memphis because he couldn’t get along with Marc Gasol, a European star and the Grizzlies’ best player. Then he begins playing mind games with Kanter before the coach’s first season in New York has hit the halfway point, ultimately benching the Turkish big man for no apparent reason. All this despite Kanter doing everything he can to make the team better on and off the court, and with KP in street clothes, being the Knicks’…wait for it…best player.
Now another European star is hitting the road on Fizdale’s watch (need we point out KP would have been our best player if he had returned next season?), asking his way out of town because of questions regarding the team’s long-term direction, which presumably includes Coach Fiz as our leader. Is it safe to assume we won’t be seeing any free agents from overseas coming to MSG any time soon?
But back to my original question. What’s a Knicks fan to do?
As painful as it is to type this statement, I’m on board for the duration. I like what the Nets are doing in Brooklyn, but I’ve never been a Nets fan, despite them being the “other” NBA team in my home market most of my life. The Dubs don’t need any more fans, so my current local bandwagon is out, and the Lakers made themselves impossible to root for when they brought The King on board last summer.
The Clippers? I’m sorry, I just nodded off typing those two words.
Nope, I’m a Knickerbocker fan for life. And think about it — I’m still here despite the following small sampling of a few of the more egregious groin shots my favorite team has delivered to me over the past 40 years or so:
Starbury — I had to pull off the Long Island Expressway and find the side of the road so I could safely scream at the top of my lungs when the Marbury announcement came over the air on WFAN radio back in January of 2004. We gave up five players, two first-rounders and cash for maybe the most negative influence ever to grace the Garden floor for the home team. The first major move of the Isiah Thomas regime was a telling sign of things to come. Which reminds me, I should have led with…
“Fire Isiah” — Talk about the reverse-Midas touch. Has anyone ruined more businesses/franchises in their post-playing career foray into the “real world” than Isiah Thomas? He would make anyone’s all-time worst Top 10 list for General Managers, and was equally bad when finally banished to the bench to mop up his time in New York as the team’s head coach. The only positive memory of Thomas’s “Reign Of Error” comes when I think back to how much my 10-year-old daughter loved chanting “Fire Isiah” along with 19,000-plus of her closest friends during our visits to the Garden during the dark, final days of Thomas’s tenure.
Jerome James — Isiah gave the big man $30 million dollars following the 2004-2005 season in a 5-year deal as reward for James having posted two strong playoff series that spring while playing for Seattle. Buoyed by his new contract, James went on an epic eating binge, gaining at least 50 pounds before training camp. Our latest savior was coming off a season where he’d averaged a whopping 4.9 points and 3 boards in Seattle, yet he somehow couldn’t even match that in his first year with the Knicks, seeing his stats decline to 3 points and 2 rebounds per outing. And that was his best statistical showing during his time in the Big Apple. Really. It was.
Eddy Curry — Yep, Isiah again. Curry was the centerpiece of Isiah’s October, 2005 trade (apparently the woebegone Knicks GM wanted to see if he could find the one center in the league that could out-eat Jerome James) that cost the Knicks two first-rounders (who the Bulls turned into Joakim Noah and LaMarcus Aldridge — in fairness the Knicks did get one back from the Bulls that became Wilson Chandler, one of the pieces that later would bring Carmelo Anthony to town — I’m softly sobbing right now). Curry would team with Starbury as the core of one of the most difficult to root for squads in New York Knicks history.
He Who Should Not Be Named — The one constant. His team made the NBA Finals in 1999, and who knows what might have happened if Patrick Ewing had been healthy and active for that series against the Spurs. Since then? Not just bad teams, but ludicrously bad. Laughingstock bad. Unwatchable bad. Strip the team from him bad. And now here we are. No stars. No plan. And no confidence that even with a high draft pick coming and tons of cap space that we will come close to getting this thing right on his watch. Thanks, Jim. Oops, I mean He Who Should Not Be Named.
So good luck in Dallas, KP. We will miss seeing the continued development of The Unicorn at the World’s Most Famous Arena, but have no fear — there is zero doubt KP will go for 50/25/10/10 (the Latvian Quadruple Double) on his first visit back to his former home (if the league has a sense of humor, they will set that one up for Christmas Day 2019).
And as for us Knicks fans? Well, at least we won all those titles when Patrick Ewing roamed the paint. Wait, what?
OOOHHH, OOOHHH, OOOHHH!!!