The New York Knicks continue to make mind-boggling moves in the hopes of recovering an otherwise disastrous season. Last week, they waived seven-year point guard Brandon Jennings, a move that appears indicative of New York trying to “tank” the remainder of the season.
Jennings, who is known for his competitive nature, has emphasized his wish to play for a playoff contender, and the Undefeated reported that Jennings asked to be waived for that very reason. The Knicks relented by releasing him, and Jennings has since signed with the Washington Wizards.
Prior to the NBA Trade Deadline, Washington also acquired sharpshooter Bojan Bogdanovic from the Brooklyn Nets. It appears the Wizards finally have it all figured out and have a legitimate shot at making a deep playoff run. Adding players like Bogdanovic and Jennings only further shows that Washington wants to win now, and they’ll have a good chance at doing so, as they are currently in third place in the Eastern Conference. That’s exactly the type of team that suits Jennings, and he finally got what he wants.
Coming into the 2016-17 season, the Knicks were projected to be a playoff team with the additions of Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Courtney Lee, and Jennings during the offseason. Rose even proclaimed his new team as the new “superteam” in the NBA. While that has clearly not panned out, it wasn’t unreasonable to believe that the Knicks, with all their newly-acquired talent, star Carmelo Anthony, and prodigious second-year player Kristaps Porzingis, would see some postseason action.
Unfortunately, the Knicks have had nothing but turmoil this season; from Rose mysteriously not showing up to a game, to the Charles Oakley debacle. And now, they let Jennings, a player who has given nothing but his best to New York all season, go.
While Jennings’ best was still not much (he only averaged 8.6 points and 4.9 assists per contest through 58 games with New York) and he did request to be released, many fans were angered by the Knicks’ actions. The 27-year-old from Compton, California embodied much of what New York basketball should be like in his brief time with the Knicks, despite the fact that he isn’t from New York. Jennings carried himself in a way that could almost help him blend in with the New York crowd, from his competitive nature, to his fearlessness to rip the Knicks for the squad’s lack of effort in any losses.
He became an odd fan favorite, even though he mainly provided a spark off the bench for the Knicks. After his buyout, Jennings took to Twitter to thank Knicks fans and express his gratitude for the opportunity to play in the Big Apple.
“Thank you to all the Knicks fans for the love all year long, and thanks to my teammates and the organization,” he wrote. “Playing in the Mecca was an amazing experience and I’m looking forward to being back on the court soon playing the game that I love,” read a following tweet.
Still, it only took one game with Washington for Jennings to take a shot at the Knicks. Following the Wizards’ close loss to the Toronto Raptors and the Knicks’ disappointing defeat at the hands of the Philadelphia 76ers, Jennings commented on his role in Washington, compared to in New York. It seems like his fondness for the Knicks has evaporated.
“I’m in the same position I was in New York, but just in a better system for me personally and with a team that actually plays together,” he said, as reported by CSN Mid-Atlantic.
Despite a loss in Jennings’ debut, the Wizards are evidently the much better team, still standing proudly towards the upper-tier of the Eastern Conference. Meanwhile, the Knicks have lost four of their last six games, and are set to miss the playoffs for the fourth consecutive year.
Brandon Jennings is winning. The Knicks are not.