Boston Celtics receive: Kristaps Porzingis
New York Knicks receive: No. 3 pick (2017), Jaylen Brown, 2018 LAL (protected 1, 6-30)/2019 SAC (protected 1) pick (via PHI)
By Bryan Toporek
You know how Boston Celtics team president Danny Ainge has been stockpiling assets like a doomsday hoarder? This is the time to go all-in.
Look, Jaylen Brown will likely develop into a fine player. Whoever they would select with the No. 3 pick—Jayson Tatum, Josh Jackson, Jonathan Isaac or Dennis Smith Jr.—could as well. And the future Lakers/Kings first-rounder the Celtics acquired from Philadelphia should be worth its weight in gold. Trading what amounts to the No. 1 pick this year and the No. 3 pick from last year is a huge bounty to give up.
That said: This is Kristaps effing Porzingis we’re talking about. Knowing what we know now, he’d be the clear-cut No. 1 pick in this year’s draft class, wouldn’t he? On a raging dumpster fire of a Knicks team this past year, Zinger put up 18.1 points on 45.0 percent shooting, 7.2 rebounds, 2.0 blocks, 1.7 triples and 1.5 assists in just 32.8 minutes per night. The term “unicorn” is quickly becoming as overused as “superstar,” but Porzingis is one of the rare exceptions who truly deserves such a title. He’d slide in next to Al Horford and immediately improve Boston’s short-term outlook on both ends of the court, as the two bigs would be largely interchangeable on offense and defense.
Here’s the best part: Porzingis would help the Celtics now and later. This isn’t giving up the farm for a one-year rental like Paul George or a possible two-year rental like Jimmy Butler. If the Celtics offered Porzingis a max contract extension coming off his rookie deal, they’d have him for a minimum of seven years. He can be a centerpiece of their team both now and in the future. Adding Porzingis could also make Boston a more appealing free-agent destination this summer, say, for Gordon Hayward? A starting five of Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, Hayward, Porzingis and Horford with Terry Rozier, Marcus Smart, Jae Crowder and pieces off the bench would at least put a scare into the Cleveland Cavaliers, wouldn’t it?
Ainge’s reluctance to cash in for anything short of a surefire superstar is understandable, but guess what? This is a surefire superstar, and the Knicks are reportedly only looking for a top-five pick and a promising young player, according to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne.. If the Celtics throw in the LAL/SAC first-rounder they acquired from Philly, it’ll be too much for New York to turn down, and Boston would still have the Nets’ 2018 pick with which they can further round out their young talent base.
Get it done, Trader Danny.
Phoenix Suns receive: Kristaps Porzingis, Joakim Noah
New York Knicks receive: Brandon Knight, No. 4 pick (2017), Marquese Chriss
By Mike O’Connor
While the Knicks would love to get Devin Booker out of this deal, TheVertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski has reported that the Suns will not give him up in any trade. Thus, the Knicks turn their attention to how else they can improve their future. While the return here is very subpar for Porzingis’ value, the Knicks shed Joakim Noah’s albatross of a contract. In doing so, the Knicks enter the full-fledged rebuilding mode they should have entered two years ago. This trade undoubtedly also solidifies Carmelo Anthony’s acceptance towards waving his no-trade clause and leaving town.
In that sense, this trade gives the Knicks a solid young core from these three assets, the return from a Carmelo Anthony trade and ample cap room in the biggest market in the country. For the Knicks, this trade is about looking far into the future rather than the immediate return. From Phoenix’s perspective, they immediately become a possible playoff team in the West. A healthy starting lineup of Eric Bledsoe, Devin Booker, Jared Dudley, Porzingis and Tyson Chandler makes them an extremely intriguing team. Couple that with T.J. Warren, Tyler Ulis, and Dragan Bender growing and providing bench scoring and you have a very interesting team going forward.
Detroit Pistons receive: Kristaps Porzingis, Joakim Noah
New York Knicks receive: Andre Drummond, Stanley Johnson
By Jesse Blanchard
Add draft picks or secondary players around the core of this deal as you’d like, but ultimately it boils down to Porzingis for Drummond.
The salaries are identical enough that, for Detroit, it’s essentially just paying Porzingis what they’re already paying Drummond, only with most of it going to Joakim Noah. The cost is Noah’s contract runs one year longer than Porzingis’ rookie deal, leaving one very tough offseason.
Porzingis immediately gives the Pistons’ pick and roll attack new wrinkles and space for Tobias Harris or Marcus Morris to work inside the 3-point line while staying on the same timeline as an emerging team with its best days in the future.
For the Knicks, Drummond gives Phil Jackson something closer to the physical centers he’s accustomed to from his former days of glory; and, perhaps, one of the few players with upside within the same range as Porzingis.