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Despite the New York Knicks finishing up yet another disappointing season, the internal issues still seemingly continue to deride the franchise.
It seems the cuts, bumps, bruises and KNICKS continue for Kristaps...
How Does The Future Look?
The latest conflict surrounds forward Kristaps Porzingis, who last week decided to skip out on his season exit interview with team president Phil Jackson and general manager Steve Mills.
This decision immediately created a stir for the Knicks with much of that centered on Porzingis’ future with the team following just his second season in the league. According to the New York Post, the 21-year-old has finally addressed the prominent topic of discussion.
“Of course,” Porzingis told The Post at his luxury apartment complex in Manhattan, when asked if he wants to be a Knick next year. “I love New York. I love New York.”
At the same time, Porzingis also avoided to comment on his choice to decline his scheduled meeting with Jackson and Mills. Although he voiced his commitment to the Knicks, the decision to not discuss the matter only further clouds the entire situation.
Porzingis may not have stated it publicly, but it’s clear that he stands firmly behind his teammate and mentor Carmelo Anthony. This all hit a head last Thursday when Jackson stated that the Knicks couldn’t win with Anthony and that he would be better served to play with another team where he could win a championship.
“We’ve not been able to win with [Anthony] on the court at this time,” Jackson said, according to ESPN. “I think the direction with our team is that he’s a player that would be better off somewhere else and using his talent somewhere where he can win or chase that championship.”
This paints a clear picture of disconnect between the players and management in New York that has put the future of the team up in the air. This had become blatantly clear after National Basketball Players Association executive director Michele Roberts responded to Jackson’s comments calling them ‘inappropriate.”
"If players under contract cannot, under threat of league discipline, speak openly about their desire to be employed elsewhere, we expect management to adhere to the same standards," NBPA Executive Director Michele Roberts said in a statement.
This has also created a ripple effect through the Knicks’ organization with Porzingis being at the forefront of that disgruntlement. The further mishandling of this situation involving Anthony could lead to more issues pushing New York down the wrong path.
That said, Jackson and New York have their eyes set on moving on from Anthony with their in hopes of rebuilding the team around Porzingis. The former fourth overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft has shown continued development through his first two seasons.
Porzingis saw uptick in production across the board in his second campaign averaging 18.7 points on 45 percent shooting from the field with 7.2 rebounds, and 2.0 blocks per game. This included being the only player in the NBA to have at least 1195 points, 470 rebounds, 130 blocks and 110 three-pointers. He was also the first player to notch at least 1500 points, 185 blocks, and 140 made 3-pointers through his first 100 career NBA games.
However, the 2016-17 NBA season also marked the fourth straight year that the Knicks have missed the playoffs, including losing more than 50 games in each of the last three campaigns. The team also faces several other looming questions involving prominent players on the rosters such as Derrick Rose, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent for the first time of his career.
There is also some concern around Joakim Noah, who experienced a rocky first season in New York that saw his year end prematurely due to injury followed by receiving a 20-game suspension for violating the league’s anti-drug policy.
All of this along with the ongoing drama with Porzingis could make way for a very intriguing offseason for the Knicks.