Injured forward Kristaps Porzingis left the New York Knicks with the impression he prefers to be traded, after a meeting with management on Thursday, according to an ESPN report.
According to the report, Porzingis and his brother/agent, Janis, met with Knicks brass to express concern with the team’s losing and “an uncertainty that a culture is developing that will enable sustainable organizational success.” The Knicks came away from the meeting with plans to discuss trading Porzingis before the Feb. 7 trade deadline, the report added.
The Knicks’ record this season is an NBA-worst 10-40, and they have lost 11 in a row, 19 of 20 and 24 of 26.
Porzingis, who has been out almost a year while recovering from a torn left ACL suffered in February 2018, had his name surface in trade rumors for the New Orleans Pelicans’ Anthony Davis, but ESPN reported earlier Thursday that it’s unlikely he’ll part of a package deal this summer because he will be a restricted free agent and “reluctant” to agree to a sign-and-trade.
New York decided not to sign Porzingis to a rookie extension before the 2018-19 season — allowing him to become a restricted free agent after this season — in part to preserve an extra $10 million in cap space to go after free agents this summer.
The Knicks are projected to have slightly more than $30 million available under the salary cap, enough to lure a max-value contract in free agency.
Updating the 23-year-old Porzingis’ condition in December, Knicks president Steve Mills said he couldn’t predict when — or if — the Latvian star would play this season.
Mills told reporters then that he wouldn’t put a timetable on his return.
“I won’t know until after we do these next round of testing,” he said. “I’m saying we won’t know when he will play until we do the next set of testing, which is in mid-February.”
Still, Mills said the Knicks “would like (Porzingis) to play” this season, but he didn’t make any guarantees.
Porzingis also had a run-in with Knicks coach David Fizdale in November, who said his star player had yet to start sprinting as part of his rehab. Porzingis quickly refuted that, posting photos of him sprinting on an outdoor track, along with another shot of UFC lightweight champ Khabib Nurmagomedov captioned, “This is number one bull(bleep).”
A day later, Fizdale tried to clear the air, saying, “I’m the only doofus that didn’t know he had went out to the track. Like I said, part of it is because I’m just locked into (coaching the team).”
Porzingis underwent surgery to repair his torn ACL on Feb. 13, 2018, and initially was expected to be out for at least 10 months. He was averaging 22.7 points, 6.6 rebounds and an NBA-best 2.4 blocks per game at the time of his injury, earning his first career All-Star selection in his third season.