Do you remember Kristaps Porzingis? The guy who used to play power forward for the Knicks? He was back in New York yesterday, back in the place he once called home, to support his new teammates as they set out on the spiritual journey that is getting sonned to death by the Nets.
It was yet another reminder that Kristaps is no longer ours.
But was he ever?
I don’t remember the first time Kristaps let it be known, through his brother or some other intermediary, that the Knicks had work to do in order to make him happy. But I’ve been living with the feeling that Kristaps is probably not happy, or rather, that the Knicks are probably not doing enough to make Kristaps happy, for so long that it feels like it’s always been there.
I say this not to assign blame to any particular party for the dissolution of the relationship, but to counter the notion that regardless of how the trade works out, regardless of whether or not Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving come to the Knicks, regardless of whether or not it begets a championship, The Kristaps Porzingis Trade is a thing you should feel sad about because Kristaps Porzingis was ours.
He wasn’t ours.
I’m going to use a relationship analogy, against my better judgment, because this is what we’re talking about. The notion that Kristaps was in a relationship with us that was special and that this relationship made him ours.
How would you feel if someone you were dating for six months started saying things like “I could never date someone who doesn’t believe in God” or “I could never date someone who has to travel for work?”
You’d feel a little weird, right? You’re dating this person and they’re telling you that they have such-and-such criteria that are non-negotiable for dating them. Why are they telling you this? Aren’t they in love with you? Don’t they want to be with you no matter what? Where did all these exceptions come from?
Unfortunately, this person is telling you that there are circumstances — perhaps many! — that would make it impossible to be with you.
This person may love you in some capacity, but are they really yours? Can you make a legitimate claim to them being exclusively yours? Even if your past rightfully engenders skepticism, how close will you feel to the person who so frequently reminds you that they don’t completely trust you?
Kristaps may have loved New York City — though I have my doubts, given how eager he seemed to be elsewhere — but he never loved the New York Knicks.
He attached qualifiers to his affection. This after making moves to avoid landing in Philadelphia, which makes you wonder, did he ever want to be in New York, or was its main draw its quality of being less bad than Philly, according to whatever criteria the brothers Porzingii use to make their decisions?
Reader, be honest. You were skeptical about Kristaps, too. Yes, you’re not as dumb as the mouth breathers at the draft who dance when prompted like cheap paper marionettes in a European square (I’m cultured!), but there was always something about KP that seemed unsustainable. Something that made you cringe every time he awkwardly guided his seven-foot-three-inch frame to the ground after launching himself skyward.
KP wasn’t just young guy skinny, he was tall guy skinny. He was how is this guy not gonna get hurt real bad? skinny. And he did get hurt! Not real bad, but hurt. Then he got hurt again. Then he kept falling off in the second half of seasons, possibly due to anemia, another wellspring of doubt.
Reader, be honest. You added it all up and you thought “well, the good parts have gotten way better every season, but the bad parts have gotten way worse” and you looked at this guy who’s been telling you he’s probably not that into you for as long as you’ve been in a relationship and now he’s telling you he absolutely wants to have kids, needs to have kids, must have kids ASAP even though you’ve discussed multiple times that you don’t want kids. Can’t have kids. Would recoil at the horror of having kids.
So you’re on the subway one day and a smallish fight breaks out over erectile dysfunction. Is it because you’re not attracted to him anymore? Are we really talking about this right now? Things just happen sometimes. Do we need to make a big deal out of it?
He suggests going to couples therapy, but you can see he doesn’t mean it. Your relationship isn’t that old. What is it, six months now? Should you stay in a relationship that requires therapy after six months? What are you trying to save?
So you break up on the train. You just do it. You can’t do it anymore so you do it. You’ve been working through exit strategies in the back of your head for weeks now, anyway.
It hurts and you both cry. Something sad has happened. But it gets easier quickly. You see how obvious it was that this wasn’t meant to be. Things aren’t meant to be of course, but things can be destined to fail, and this was one of those things.
Also, now you’re engaged to Smevin Smurant and he likes to do that thing you like to do. You know that thing.
What I’m trying to say is that Kristaps Porzingis was never really yours and it’s fine. In fact it’s better this way, no matter what comes next. Not knowing the future doesn’t alter the past.
The simple fact of the matter is that we didn’t have a special relationship with KP. Not in a positive sense. It was strewn with landmines from the beginning and now it’s gone. Somebody else’s field to navigate.