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Toppin and Poppin’: A 2022 NBA trade deadline diary

The League made some moves. The Knicks? Not so much.

NBA: New York Knicks- Press Conference Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Abe (1:00 PM EST):

Folks, it’s a picturesque Thursday afternoon here in New York City. Much of the unsightly slush and dirt magnet snow banks that lined our streets for the last week and change have melted away, the sun is shining, and I’m feeling cautiously optimistic because the Knicks haven’t done anything stupid yet.

Not only that, but the options for the team to do something disastrous or merely dumb are dwindling. Over the past 24 hour several of our rumored potential trade targets have been taken off the board.

Jay (1:06PM EST):

Don’t jinx it, brother. You, of all people, know that the best way to get through Knicks fandom is to eradicate hope. Management can’t trick us into believing if we have no hope. Alec Burks is apparently on the block and being dangled out like Suge Knight did Vanilla Ice.

Really interested in this trade that sends Serge Ibaka to the Bucks and Rodney Hood to the Clippers. If the Bucks are going to repeat, it’ll be veteran stalwarts like Ibaka. What did you make of that one?

Abe (1:12PM EST)

I’m in favor of anything that results in me having to watch less Bobby Portis, so I’m pro. Perkins is on ESPN doing the Wu-Tang dozens skit about him right now. What a moron that guy is. Something I thought would be fun as a way to pass the time would be to go over the rumored deals that didn’t happen for us today and rank them based on how relieved we are they didn’t go through.

Let’s start with the one I hated the most and is the only one left on the table because he hasn’t been traded, but I’ve heard LA isn’t even engaging in conversation concerning him: Russell Westbrook.

Jay (1:15PM EST)

HOLY SHIT: Shams is reporting that the Philadelphia Sixers have a trade in place to send Ben Simmons to the Nets for James Harden! Seth Curry and Andre Drummond also go to the Nets. This is a crazy move. Harden wasn’t going to re-sign and realized that playing with a wild card like Kyrie Irving wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. He is now back with a Daryl Morey-run team. Embiid, an excellent player, will now get a chance to play with a guard who is a superstar offensive talent. Harden finally plays with a big man who is in his prime. Simmons has not played all season but I am banking on him being good for the Nets. He can finally be who he is: A long armed defender hell bent on deflections and perimeter defense mixed with his excellent passing skills.

Abe (1:18PM EST)

I may be projecting on this, but it seems like KD and Kyrie are cool with this, and they’re actually mad at how management handled this vaccine situation, not each other. This is an incredibly dumb take because there was nothing Brooklyn could’ve done with the vaccine mandate, but we’re dealing with irrational and tremendously dumb guys so what do you expect. I’ll be real man, I think the 76ers gave up too much. I know Maxey could’ve been in the deal so they didn’t give up everything, but this version of Harden? He’s looked OK in spurts this season, but the Curry part of it would piss me off if I was a Sixers fan. I guess they must look at it like Simmons is a complete zero and now they have what could be the best tandem in the league.

Jay (1:25PM EST)

It’s a tough blow to lose Curry but he was also food on defense against the Hawks. They kept Thybulle, who is a bit overrated, but they didn’t completely lose their glue guys.

Abe (1:29 EST)

Man, Kendrick Perkins fucking sucks. How do people listen to him all the time? I can’t even believe his coworkers are sitting through this nonsense.

Jay (1:30PM EST)

He’s a chode. I remember when he used to complain about people making fun of him all the time. He’s an idiot.

Abe (1:33PM EST)

How funny is it that Simmons is vaxed. Guy hasn’t played all year due to “mental health issues” and he’s still not as crazy as Kyrie.

Jay (1:34PM EST)

It’s hilarious. That’s what happens when you are a contrarian. Kyrie Irving is going against the grain and the guy who literally doesn’t know how to shoot is the one who looks more intuitive.

Abe (1:35PM EST)

And a dumbass. Aight. This is a Knicks blog. Let’s talk Knicks. Back to Westbrook. What did you make of that trade proposal along with the theory that Westbrook would some how be rejuvenated by a trade and actually regain all star form for the Knicks? Haha Stephen A. Smith just repeated your exact take on Seth Curry.

Jay (1:42PM EST)

I’m not sure but if we can get some picks from it, I would not be against it. Westbrook alone would put some people in the seats. He is a better player when he is on the ball and controlling the flow on the offense more. He can’t be playing alongside someone else who has more gravity. It isn’t in his nature to take a backseat. If we got him, I’m not sure he will get any better but at least we’d be more fun to watch.

Abe (1:49PM EST)

I think Westbrook would be worse for the development of the young core than even Thibs. Seems like on its face it’s such a laughably bad and disastrous idea I can’t even believe any fan would entertain it. But OK, maybe you’re finding it as hard to think over the soothing harmonies of Perk screaming at Stephen A as I am. Next up is Fox for Randle, which we had discussed at one point and I believe we kind of liked? Obviously didn’t happen because of the Sabonis/Haliburton swap. Any thoughts on the fit that wasn’t now that it’s off the table?

Jay (1:52PM EST)

Fox can’t shoot but he’s a fast and athletic talent. I thought it was a decent fit. But the problem is that it doesn’t necessarily make us that much better. What I think the move is to try to regroup next season with more picks and young guys. I’ve seen the Knicks overextend themselves my whole life.

Abe (1:58PM EST)

I think an actual functioning point guard and someone who would push tempo for us like Fox would have actually helped a lot. Had visions of Fox leading a fast break with Obi diving to the rim and IQ on the wing, but alas. I haven’t given up on Fox yet, clearly the Kings haven’t either. Did you see that proposed three team trade with the Raptors and the Lakers? We were allegedly giving up Cam Reddish and AB for Goran Dragic and draft picks. It would’ve meant leaning all the way in to a tank and I’m thrilled it didn’t happen. You?

Jay (2:01PM EST)

What do you make of Reddish as a player so far? I had a good talk about this with my Pops, who thinks that Reddish can be good but doesn’t care enough to do multiple things on the floor. He looks the part but often watching him play is the epitome of edging. It’s not quite anything substantial. Whatever you think of Reddish, is what you are going to think about a deal for him. I personally think he is talented enough for us to see what we have in him. Get him in an offseason program with Rowan and see what happens. But the knock on Reddish is he thinks he is better than he is. I have to think that Burks get dealt regardless though. What do you think?

Abe (2:09PM EST)

I think Cam Reddish has played 50 minutes for us and we have no clue what we have or how he fits because he never plays! I’d be down with moving any of our older vets because even in a bad deal it would give the team the opportunity to really bunker down and make this miserable stretch of games educational. But that’s assuming we had a coach that would utilize that time and experiment and not let our 21 year old star get injured in the final seconds of a blowout. But this can’t turn into Thibs piñata we did that Monday. Sounds like we’re on the same page with Cam. We need to wait and see before we do anything drastic…assuming we ever get to see.

So let’s live in a world 45 minutes from now in which absolutely nothing happens, which looks increasingly likely. Are you disappointed? Is there anything you would like to see before 3:00?

Jay (2:17PM EST)

*Adam Sandler in Uncut Gems voice* I want Burks traded, I want Kemba dealt, I want Fournier on the bench, I want Quickley starting, I want Grimes starting. We’ll see what happens.

Abe (2:20PM EST)

Oh, so you want a new coach. I’ll take Garnett winning the tip. I’ve heard there is little to no interest in AB out there. Knicks fans on the TL are screaming Leon’s asleep and all this shit, I’d be genuinely interested to know, now that most of the genuine assets we might’ve targeted are gone, what they actually want to see happen.

Jay (2:25PM EST)

The report that came out recently about the Knicks not being on the same page seemed true to me. Thibs said that Leon Rose is going to do what he can and notify him if something goes down but added “I like our guys now.” which is a fucking face palm statement. This season was always going to go like this. It was greedy to suggest that we would be anything but a below average and middling team this season. Greed, for lack of a better term, is actually bad for you. It creates an expectation of appetizing and grandiose wealth. Not wealth, as in capital, but wealth as in self-esteem. If wealth is in the mind and not the pocket, then the Knicks have made our minds into a pauper. It could be that no moves are made. Burks didn’t look enticing to people because Thibs has overplayed him, scaring people off because his play hasn’t been good. Burks can help a team but when you’ve been pushed to your limit of effectiveness, other teams look at you as crumpled food. I’d be shocked if a trade is made.

Abe (2:36PM EST)

I don’t think anyone expected Randle to fall off the face of the planet like this, the Knicks aged down this year sure, but I think it’s fair to say the team is more talented than last year. We just agree the coach isn’t utilizing the talent properly.

While they’re in the middle of this brutal stretch of games, it’s easy to forget, but the team lost two games to Orlando at home this season. There was so much opportunity to build a cushion for this road trip that was squandered. So I guess we’re back to where we left off Monday: Fuck Thibs.

WHOA!!!!!! ZINGER JUST GOT TRADED!!!!!!!

Man that is a shocker. This can’t be just the one move, right? They’re clearing money or something? It can’t just be Spencer Dinwiddie and Davis Bertans. Man. Even if the Knicks don’t make a move, we have officially won that trade, if there was any lingering doubt.

Jay (2:42PM EST)

Kristaps Porzingis surprising the hell out of us. While I think that Porzinigs is terrible, I am interested in this trade from Dallas’s perspective. They must know that his knees are shots. He is not the same athlete he was when he first came in and he was never as good of a shooter as would think from his complexion and shooting stroke. This is Dallas cutting their losses as much as it is trying to improve their athleticism.

Abe (2:49PM EST)

Well, there you have it. With the possible exception of Julius Randle I’ve never seen a player’s value fall so far, so fast. Good riddance to that moody bastard. No disastrous trades and we’re vindicated from an old move. Not a bad deadline all in all, my faith in the front office remains solid. Now we just need our fucking coach to listen to them.