1. The Kristaps Porzingis return to MSG
Kristaps Porzingis last played an NBA game in February 2018, when he tore his left ACL for the New York Knicks. That became his final go-around with the team, as he stayed with them until Jan. 31, 2019, being traded to the Dallas Mavericks in a seven-player and two-pick transaction.
From threatening to return to Latvia if not traded to his brother-turned-agent’s desired influence, the Knicks parted ways with their 2015 first-round pick, who once held the Face of the Franchise role, and opened cap space for the 2019 offseason by including Tim Hardaway Jr. and Courtney Lee‘s contracts.
Well, over nine months after the trade, the Knicks will welcome Porzingis to Madison Square Garden for the first time, on Friday, Nov. 8. This deserves national recognition, but it will only air on MSG Networks.
Given the aftermath of Porzingis’ abrupt exit, bad blood may lie with Knicks fans, who will jeer, not cheer, him out of the building. Star players who want out of their situations rarely receive a welcoming return to the place they called home, including Kawhi Leonard and the Spurs and Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Porzingis had a cup of coffee in New York. If he stayed longer and contributed more, the reactions could be different. Two-plus seasons probably will not garner any cheers from Knicks fans in November, but crazier things have happened.