Though there isn’t much competition, Kristaps Porzingis is easily the best thing that’s happened to the woeful New York Knicks since their run to the NBA Finals in 1999.
And now, on the heels of a 31-51 season, president of basketball operations Phil Jackson is fielding offers in an effort to trade the big man, and it has a lot to do with the 21-year-old Latvian‘s skipping his exit interview after the regular season.
“We’re getting calls,” Jackson said in an interview on Wednesday. “As much as we value Kristaps and what he’s done for us, when a guy doesn’t show up at an exit meeting, everybody starts speculating on the duration or his movability from a club, so we’ve been getting calls. We’re listening, but we’re not intrigued yet at this level. As much as we love this guy, we have to do what’s good for our club.”
Jackson also noted that having a player skip an exit meeting had never happened to him, which is false—Shaquille O’Neal did it to him in consecutive seasons in 2003 and 2004.
The team president also ignored the fact that Porzingis skipped the meeting in light of Jackson’s treatment of Carmelo Anthony, whom the president publicly criticized and hoped to trade, in turn tanking Anthony’s trade value.
“Well, I think we know what we’re doing,” Jackson said of Knicks fans questioning his ability to run the team. “That’s what I can say to them. Although it’s not been apparent in our record the last couple years, we’ve grown from within, we’ve got young players that are on their move up. It takes time to rebuild with youth, and I think to have confidence in the fact that we’re gonna have good players and we’re gonna have a good team and we’re gonna be on the court competitive.”
It’s a good thing Jackson thinks he’s so smart, because basically anyone who’s played for the Knicks since he got there thinks he’s doing an ass job.
After being traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers, Iman Shumpert compared playing for the Knicks to living in hell. Current Knicks guard Courtney Lee was baffled that the team doesn’t even practice defending pick-and-rolls. And Carmelo Anthony has had to step in to teach Jackson acolyte Kurt Rambis how to coach basketball. Oh, and no one wants to play the outdated triangle offense.
Then there’s this, from an NBA agent, published on Wednesday: “I was talking to one of our players the other day, a free agent, and we were looking at our options. And it used to be, ‘Yeah, get me to New York.’ Even when they were struggling, there are guys who want to be in the city. But he was saying, ‘no, no, not that environment, not now.’ They’re not just alienating their own players, they’re alienating all players. They’re making things hard on themselves there.”
Yeah, but Porzingis’ exit meeting though, right Phil?