Then, New York traded Porzingis a couple years later, anyway.
The Knicks got a nice haul for Porzingis. But what could they have gotten if they dealt him in the summer of 2017, when Jackson most infamously explored a trade?
Twenty months ago, the Celtics offered a boatload of young assets, and the Suns were prepared to ship Devin Booker and swap a draft pick that would have placed the Knicks in position to draft Lauri Markkanen. Former team president Phil Jackson thought the Finnish big man was built sturdier than Porzingis and would become more durable.
Phoenix had the No. 4 pick, New York the No. 8 pick in that draft. Moving up would have given the Knicks access to Josh Jackson, De'Aaron Fox, Jonathan Isaac and Markkanen. Instead, New York took Frank Ntilikina.
Booker took his biggest leap the next season, but remains more of a work in progress than his supporters acknowledge. Porzingis tore his ACL.
Both Booker and Porzingis are young, and it’s far from certain which will have a better career. The Suns have made Booker their franchise player and surely feel as if they dodged a bullet. I’m not nearly as sold on him, though he certainly has nice upside. Porzingis’ injury makes him risky. Trading up obviously would have benefited the Knicks. But New York still did well in its eventual actual Porzingis trade.
That Boston offer could have topped both the Mavericks’ now and Suns’ then. This reporting doesn’t offer specifics, but the Celtics were loaded with assets.