When news broke earlier Thursday that Kristaps Porzingis was unhappy with how the Knicks' new direction was headed and no longer wanted to be a part of it, many believed the Knicks wouldn't give in.
But that's exactly what they did when they sent Porzingis, along with Tim Hardaway Jr., Courtney Lee and Trey Burke to Dallas in exchange for DeAndre Jordan, Dennis Smith Jr., Wesley Matthews, a 2021 unprotected first-round pick and a 2023 top-10 protected first-round pick.
So why did the Knicks decide to grant Porzingis' wish? They had all the control with the Latvian a restricted free agent, no no-trade clause in his contract, and the fact that he still has yet to play since his torn ACL last February, making his value much lower than it may have been in the past.
Knicks president Steve Mills simply said the team didn't want to head into the offseason with a player who wasn't on board with their vision moving forward, even if he was their franchise star.
"Over time it became clear to us that Kristaps was not completely on board with the plan that we had laid out," Mills told the media on a conference call. "He's a great player, but this morning in a meeting, he confirmed that he longer wanted to be a Knick. Given the uncertainty of going into free agency with a player who feels that way, we decided to make this trade."
Porzingis, who was named to his first All-Star Game last season but couldn't play due to his injury, has been the focal point of the Knicks' rebuild before and after Mills and GM Scott Perry came aboard. Mills, though, thought it was the right decision to carry on their plan without him.
"We feel like we did the right thing," Mills explained. "When you try to think about how you want to build your team for the long term, you don't want to commit a max [contract] to a player who clearly says to you he doesn't want to be here. That would be a disservice for our organization and disservice to our fans."
But wouldn't this move set back the franchise for years to come? Mills doesn't think so.
"We haven't reset our plan," he said. "What we did was we did the things that were consistent with our plan. A by-product of what we did was create $68 million worth of room."
Instead, the Knicks will head into free agency with the ability to sign two max players, and potentially set them up with a top draft pick like Zion Williamson. That gameplan is easier said than done, but that is what the Knicks will hope to accomplish once the offseason kicks off.
If they don't, though, then the Knicks would have given up a potential superstar without anything in return.