Weren't things looking OK a couple weeks ago?
Sure, Kristaps Porzingis and Phil Jackson weren't talking, but the New York Knicks had the No. 8 pick, there were rumors swirling that point guard Ricky Rubio might be shipped from the Minnesota Timberwolves and Kentucky's Malik Monk could fall to their No. 8 spot during tomorrow night's NBA draft.
A possible lineup that would have featured Rubio, Monk, Porzingis and Willy Hernangomez? That's a pretty nice start. Then throw in the possible assets gained by trading Carmelo Anthony and the word "playoffs" might not have been far from the lips of many Knicks fans.
But in true Knicks fashion, that looks like it was all too good to be true.
New York broke the NBA world yesterday when it was reported that Jackson was open to trading Porzingis, widely regarded as one of the finest young basketball talents on the planet and the Knicks' future face of the franchise. Adrian Wojnarowski of the Vertical revealed that there was "a frenzy of interest," from teams around the league who were suddenly presented with a slim chance of attaining the 21-year-old adoringly referred to as a unicorn.
Porzingis is the only player in NBA history to record at least 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds, 250 blocks and 100 made 3-point field goals over his first two seasons.
That's pretty remarkable.
Yet Jackson might just let his hubris get in the way of the best thing the Knicks have had in decades and deal Porzingis away.
He even has the gall to think that Arizona product Lauri Markkanen, a player built similarly to Porzingis, could come in immediately as Porzingis' replacement if New York dealt him and took the Finnish prospect at No. 8.
The madness doesn't end there. Rumors emerged (via ESPN's Ramona Shelburne) that the Knicks are also very high on Kansas forward Josh Jackson, who is bound to be a top-four selection on Thursday night. The problem is, the Knicks would have to give up a star player in order to get up into that top three or four range.
The No. 3 pick belongs to the Boston Celtics while No. 4 is the Phoenix Suns'. The New York Daily News' Stefan Bondy reported that the Celtics have reached out to the Knicks about Porzingis, but Phil Jackson's asking price was rightfully "astronomical."
That likely means that Boston would have to give up their No. 3 pick, a first-rounder next year and an established player like Jae Crowder if not more.
But there is still time for Jackson to find a way to ship Porzingis and the Knicks' future away. Hopefully, for the poorly run franchise and their fans, his time runs out on draft night.