New York Knicks owner James Dolan has given his latest bi-quarterly interview or whatever, and he comes bearing some rather noteworthy news: Kristaps Porzingis could miss all of next season.
From Dolan’s interview with the New York Post‘s Larry Brooks:
“I’ve been told everything from December to him being out for the season, so I don’t know what to expect on that,” Dolan said. “But we can’t just sit on our ass while he’s away. We need to develop a team and then integrate him into it when he comes back.”
Next Christmas has long been the most talked-about date for Porzingis’ return. Sometime in 2019 has always seemed more likely, no matter how many of the unicorn’s doctors might feel otherwise. Missing all of next season would be unexpected, but hardly unprecedented.
Torn ACLs verge on routine injuries in NBA circles these days, but they’re not minor setbacks. And Porzingis has already had other issues with the left side of his body. That could factor into his timetable as well.
So, too, could the fact New York doesn’t have anything to play for. Making the playoffs is out of the question if he’s going to miss even half the year. Bringing him back only puts him at risk of further injury and, equally important, stands to damage the Knicks’ draft lottery odds. Holding him out until 2019-20 would allow him to join a core that includes Ntilikina, this year’s first and a potential top-five prospect from the 2019 draft.
Indeed, there will be value in having the opportunity to re-implement him into the team, but the Knicks must play the long game. They have a viable franchise cornerstone, one who will require a new contract by the start of 2019-20. They cannot pander to the immediate picture. The long-term outlook matters so much more.