The Knicks do themselves a favor by accepting that they’re awful by trading JR Smith and Iman Shumpert for nothing
The Knicks have accepted their awfulness! The Knicks have accepted their current position at the bottom of the bottom! Denial and disillusionment no more! Holy goodness-gracious-mother-of-
The three-team trade between the Cleveland Cavaliers, Oklahoma City Thunder, and New York Knicks really caught me by surprise. I wasn’t really expecting many moves to be made for any of the teams involved and the one player from those teams that I expected to be traded soon, Reggie Jackson, is staying put in Oklahoma City. For the first few hours after the trade, I didn’t really get it but, after a good night’s sleep, I’m beginning to think that this is the best move the New York Knicks have made in years. While I think the move was also good for the Cavs and Thunder, my main focus of this article is on the Knicks because I think this may be the start of something good in New York given their perpetual mediocrity in recent years and their current state as the comedic sideshow of the NBA.
First and foremost, the Knicks have done themselves a big favor by getting rid of JR Smith. Though JR Smith has recently dropped to second on the all-infuriating rankings behind the Great Josh Smith, he was a cancer to the New York Knicks. Between his “liking” of models’ photos on Instagram during a game to his constant head-scratchers on the court (remember when he attempted 22 three pointers in a single game last season? Yeah, that happened), JR Smith was the perfect human example of everything that was wrong with the Knicks, even though the problems with the Knicks were deeper than just JR Smith’s exploits.
With Smith now gone, the Knicks not only got rid of a 29-year-old problem child, but they also freed up 7 million dollars of cap room. This is going to be huge for them in the upcoming off-season considering the expiring mega-contracts of Amar’e Stoudemire and Andrea Bargnani (why did he get a 50 million dollar contract again?) at the end of this season. With the Stoudemire and Bargnani contracts expiring, combined with the 7 million dollars now available due to Smith’s departure, the Knicks will have around 30 million dollars to work with in hopes of landing a superstar free agent.
To make things even better, now that Smith and Shumpert are gone, the Knicks are officially the worst team in the NBA and are looking at a top-5 pick in July’s NBA draft. If they are able to land Jahlil Okafor or Emmanuel Mudiay ON TOP of signing an elite free agent, they could automatically become contenders in the Eastern Conference next season.
The primary concern among Knicks fans following this trade seems to be the departure of Iman Shumpert. I hate to break it to y’all Knicks fans, but Shumpert was going to be gone anyway after this season. In losing Shumpert, the Knicks are losing an elite wing defender who spends more time injured on the bench than he does on the court. It’s really a small loss in the long-term and, outside of Melo, Knicks fans should be okay with anyone leaving if it means getting rid of JR Smith.
Even better for Knicks fans, they received a 2019 second-round pick from the Thunder in the deal and picks are always good no matter where they are in the draft.
For the first time in a long time, the Knicks are the top beneficiary from a trade. They now have money to get the guy (or guys) they want and they have another pick down the road. Phil Jackson and company have made their first great move since Jackson took over.
The Knicks are tanking away this season in the best way possible. To my fellow Knick-haters: cherish this season because the Knicks will soon be on the rise. Much love, y’all.