The decision of Kristaps Porzingis to skip the exit meeting with the New York Knicks created various speculations about his potential departure this summer. However, Porzingis made it clear that he wants to stay with the Knicks but not closing his door to join other teams if their situation will not improve.
“Absolutely, I want to stay here all my career. You never know what will happen. At the end of the day, the thing I want most of all is winning. When the time comes, I should seriously start to think about it. Right now I just try to do my best,” Porzingis, 21, told Sporta Avize, according to a translation provided by the magazine.
With the Knicks suffering another disappointing season, Porzingis voiced out his frustration over the team’s dysfunction and lack of direction. The drama between team president Phil Jackson and Carmelo Anthony continues to be the center of controversy in New York. With Anthony expected to be traded this summer, Porzingis could be the Knicks’ next franchise player.
NBA Trade: Keeping Kristaps Porzingis
Porzingis will become a restricted free agent in 2019. If the Knicks want to bring him back, all they need to do is match the offer of other interested teams. In an interview, Porzingis was asked if he would stay with the Knicks than join a new team as a free agent if they provided a better chance of winning.
The former fourth overall pick said it’s “possible” and “time will show”. The Knicks are expected to make personnel changes in the upcoming offseason. As coach Jeff Hornacek revealed in the past month, they will evaluate players who fit in the triangle offense. The Knicks plan to use Jackson’s preferred offensive strategy next season.
Unlike Carmelo Anthony and Derrick Rose, Kristaps Porzingis is comfortable with the system, saying that it will only be effective if everyone believes in it. Recently, Jackson is reportedly willing to move Anthony to the Boston Celtics for a trade package centered on Jae Crowder. His ability to defend and shoot three-pointers make him a great fit for the Knicks.
The Knicks are also expected to look for a new point guard this summer. The triangle offense needs a pass-first point guard and not a ball-dominant player like Rose. If they succeed to acquire their targets, the Knicks will undeniably be a better team next season.
Kristaps Porzingis joining the Latvian national team
Porzingis announced that he will be joining the Latvian national team in the summer’s European championships. Since being drafted in 2015, the Knicks didn’t allow him to play in the European championships and Olympic qualifiers. Jackson believes it would be better for Porzingis to stay close with his coaches and trainers than risking injury overseas.
However, the Knicks center decided to play for his country whether the Knicks approve it or not. NBA teams don’t have the power to prevent their players from participating in international competitions. Janis, Kristaps Porzingis’ older brother and agent, believes that the Knicks star is already in a position to decide for himself.
Photo courtesy: Keith Allison/Flickr
Video courtesy: Youtube/JM Sports Factory