Q: I’m a long-suffering Knicks fan disgusted by the Kristaps Porzingis deal. If the target was salary-cap relief, future draft picks and a top young player, surely there had to be more viable options on the table. I have two suggestions myself: Why didn’t the Knicks try to make a similar deal with Sacramento to get Marvin Bagley — or with the Clippers to get Shea Gilgeous-Alexander? — Michael Saponara STEIN: Let’s use your proposed deals. I’m told that the Knicks, for starters, tried to engage Sacramento on the Bagley trade concept you suggest. But much like their attempts to engage the Kings in De’Aaron Fox discussions, those inquiries were flatly rejected.
Storyline: De'Aaron Fox Trade?
Now, he gets a team all to himself in New York, albeit a 10-46 one he’ll try to find stability on after his short stint with the Mavericks ended unceremoniously. Still just 21, Smith, pushed aside for Luka Doncic in Dallas, has made Madison Square Garden his latest platform. While the Knicks are evaluating Smith to see if he can make himself a part of the organizational firmament, he believes he’s found a place to grow. “A fresh start,” Smith told The Athletic of what the trade brought him. “Fresh start and just freedom and just being able to have fun and play basketball again. Things that I needed.”
His start with the Knicks, so far, has been strong. He scored 25 points and then 31 in back-to-back games last week, and got to the free throw line 19 times in Detroit on Friday. With few playmakers left on the roster, David Fizdale is giving Smith free rein to run the offense and to create. He’s displayed a performative aspect to his play, too. There was the 360-degree dunk against the Pistons, then an alley-oop off the glass to DeAndre Jordan on Sunday. He intends to be a showman, and not just this Saturday night in the dunk contest during the NBA’s All-Star weekend. “Just giving the fans something,” he said. “They pay good money to come to these games. Just giving them something to watch. That’s what that’s all about. If you get the fans involved — they respect good basketball, of course, and they respect the show. I feel with our team being so young and athletic, we can give them that.”