Kristaps Porzingis made his view on his New York Knicks' incompetence clear when he skipped the club's season-ending meetings. Without missing a beat, ESPN almost immediately reported that "teams reached out to the Knicks to talk about possible trades for Porzingis.''
That report (if not Porzingis' own actions in snubbing team president Phil Jackson and GM Steve Mills) naturally sent 29 fan bases scurrying for intel, wondering if their team is "in on" the 21-year-old budding superstar, one of the planet's few legitimate "Next Dirks."
But alas, no. Sources tell me that the Dallas Mavericks are not among the alleged teams that made alleged inquiries. And why not?
"Because the Knicks aren't trading Porzingas," one NBA source tells me. "And everybody knows it."
That "everybody'' includes the Mavs.
Part of this story is about the Knicks' incompetence under Jackson; at the same time he was trying on purpose to lose Carmelo Anthony, his one established star, he was privately accidentally losing Porzingis, the versatile 7-3 heir to 'Melo's Big Apple throne. Part of the pile-on comes from the player's Twitter account, where he either did or did not type the word "Clippers,'' thus creating another mass-media scurry toward assumptions.
Yes, maybe part of this is the media's fault. And specific to the "trade story.'' maybe a big part of it is specifically ESPN's fault.
Full disclosure: I'm friendly with some of the 100 ESPN staffers who recently lost their jobs. I am therefore sensitive to their plight, and as I enter my 34th year of being employed in professional sports journalism, I am biased toward them and defensive of the industry.
So I peruse ESPN in recent days. I watch them make their firing announcement on the eve of the NFL Draft, cleverly realizing that the news cycle will quickly turn the 100 dismissals into tomorrow's bird-cage liner. I watch them seemingly take sloppy shortcuts in attempts to be "hip," and flail miserably ...
And I watch them, maybe because they are desperate to re-ignite the "cord-cutters" and re-engage with sports fans (rather than fans of fashion reviews and hip-hop deep thoughts ...
... Create a juicy story about a Knicks star being traded.
The ESPN "trade inquiry" story actually includes the observations that "Porzingis is viewed by many in the organization as a future franchise cornerstone" and that "he has said several times that he wants to remain in New York."
In other words ... The next don't want to trade him… And he doesn't want to be traded.
The Mavericks absolutely love this player. Their view is reflected in Dirk Nowitzki's recent comments about him.
“I am a huge fan, I have said that from day one,” Nowitzki said. “He is going to be around for a long, long time. He is 7-3 and can shoot from 30-35 feet easy. He has all of the in-between game. He’s going to be fun in this league for a long time.”
But no, the Mavs didn't call the Knicks and waste their time. And any team that did call on Porzingas was wasting its time.
And ESPN? It continues to struggle to utilize wisely its time ... and yours.