Almost two years ago, I made a pledge that considering the state of NYC transit, the unfolding climate catastrophe, and the enduring blues stylings of JD and the Straight Shot, if the Knicks were to trade Kristaps Porzingis, their beautiful Latvian unicorn, that I would just give up.
Fast-forward to the present, and the trains have gotten worse, we’ll all be living underwater even sooner than we thought, and the president…Yeah, ‘nuff said. Porzingis tore his ACL midway through last season, keeping him out indefinitely. The Knicks, who are always bad, found someway to get even worse this year. But, through it all — I held out hope.
Hope that things would get marginally better (if only if that meant slightly less bleak) sometime in the near future. A Green New Deal, a fully-funded Fast Forward Plan for transit, an affordable apartment. Because the Knicks had kept up their end of the bargain. They had kept Porzingis.
The Knicks are only good at one thing, however — inflicting the most pain possible on their fanbase, and, in particular, myself. I am psychically devastated. Because the Knicks have gone and traded Kristaps Porzingis. The unicorn now lives in Dallas.
For what? Why? I know not. A few minutes ago I put peanut butter on a frozen english muffin. I had forgotten to toast it. I ate it anyway. It tasted, but I cannot even describe the taste. Because I deserve nothing in this world. I have given up. They have finally broken me.
Somewhere, in the reptilian parts of my brain, a few synapses still fire.
How badly do you have to fuck up to be so bad for this long?
The Knicks, in some strange, possibly ayahuasca-fueled vision, had professed at the beginning of this season they were willing to stick with the basic managerial concept of keeping the very good young players you draft, let them develop, and then take advantage of the league’s deeply unfair Collective Bargaining Agreement, which artificially suppresses the labor market, to be able to reap the rewards of said good young players for years to come. Those rewards come in the form of wins (those are good! People tend to like those!).
Pretty much every team at some point over the last twenty years has been able to do this, sometimes even repeatedly with the young stars they are handed through the NBA draft. (This is not in some way a defense of the way the economics of the NBA, which is deeply lopsided in favor of owners, but just setting up how badly a basketball team would have to fuck up to be so bad, for so very long in a system that favors them so much. Bear with me.)
Well, for many years, the Knicks straight-up avoided the “everyone will eventually win some games because we hand them the best young players” scheme of the NBA by trading away as many of their high draft picks as possible. This is even after the NBA had set up rules for abysmally-run teams like the Knicks to not to be able to trade away their only first round draft picks in consecutive seasons. The Knicks, geniuses at being awful, simply routinely traded their high draft picks for low, meaningless draft picks at the tail end of the first round which resulted in an endless string of marginal NBA players. Why did they do this? Unclear. I don’t remember any reasons, and even if I did, I know they didn’t work out.
It never works out.
Right now, all the lights are out in my home and I put my shoes on but I don’t know where I planned on going? My phone is dying but I’m just going to let it. No use in charging. It would just waste more of this dying planet’s finite resources. Plus, it will only deliver more dismal news.
News about the Knicks…
Because in Porzingis, the Knicks had taken a break from their laser-focused sadism to actually use one of their high draft picks. Lo and behold, he was good. Soon enough, he was great! He was doing cool things like running fast breaks and shooting the three and blocking shots and he was so tall and so young and so good!
But good things cannot exist in the asbestos-saturated halls of Madison Square Garden. Knicks management, again, bent on leeching any possible joy out of the franchise, surrounded Porzingis with insanely overpaid and underperforming players who not only didn’t complement his playing style, but actively conflicted with it.
Knicks management didn’t tear apart Porzingis’s knee last winter. But through their sheer mismanagement and vindictiveness, they might as well have. The unicorn’s own healthy body couldn’t put up with the strain of the deeply sick individuals behind the organization.
The Knicks “plan,” which isn’t actually a plan at all, is that they’ll start this whole process over again with the 14 percent chance of drafting Duke’s Zion Williamson, and then surrounding him with generational players like Kevin Durant or Kyrie Irving, who will agree to play in New York because… everyone love playing for an organization that has spent the past twenty years drumming out the will-to-live from its fans, players, and endless string of head coaches? There is not a chance that will happen. Everything will go wrong because the Knicks deserve nothing even though they’ve been given everything. They were given Kristaps Porzingis.
I myself deserve nothing for sticking with them for so long. No participation prize, here. I am attempting to expel this sickness (this “Knickness”) from my own body, but unlike Porzingis, I might not get up from this one. Last time, I appealed to a higher power to save the Knicks from themselves. But this time, my prayers went unanswered. Which can mean only one thing — that God is dead and the Knicks have killed them. Truly, the ultimate victory.