Kristaps Porzingis may not want to talk to team president Phil Jackson right now, but he still wants to remain a Knick.
Porzingis made a major statement when he blew off his exit meeting last week with Jackson and other team officials. But he told the New York Post Wednesday that he’s still committed to the Knicks.
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“Of course,” Porzingis said. “I love New York. I love New York.”
Porzingis skipped his end-of-season interview Friday because of frustration over all the drama surrounding the team and the direction of the franchise.
The Knicks were expected to contend for a playoff spot, but they went 31-51, and their season was filled with controversy, trade rumors involving Carmelo Anthony and Derrick Rose and complaints about the triangle offense. Porzingis was outspoken during the season, saying there was “a lot of confusion” and it was “from top to bottom.”
In Porzingis’ two NBA seasons, he’s played for three coaches and the Knicks have lost 101 games. But Porzingis, who the Knicks are expected to build around, wouldn’t address why he didn’t meet with Jackson when he was asked by the newspaper.
“It’s not the right moment to comment on anything,” Porzingis said. “I don’t want to say anything.’’
Jackson met with reporters Friday afternoon, and had some interesting things to say during his 49-minute interview.
He made it abundantly clear that he will try to trade Anthony this offseason, saying the Knicks perennial All-Star “is a player that would be better somewhere else.” Jackson didn’t deem Porzingis untouchable in trade talks, and said he’s yet not ready to be the focal point of the Knicks’ offense.
Porzingis is flying home to Latvia Thursday where he will train for next season but also this summer. Porzingis is expected to hold a news conference next week to announce he will play for the Latvian National Team in the European Championships.
In an interview with FIBA.com, Porzingis said he “absolutely” wants to play for his country and “help the team to get to the second round.” It’s the first time Porzingis will play for Latvia since the Knicks drafted him in 2015.
Porzingis stopped by the National Basketball Players Association offices Wednesday. The NBPA posted a photo on Twitter of Porzingis at their headquarters. Last week, the players association released a statement voicing its displeasure over what Jackson said about Anthony.
“We voiced with the Commissioner today our view on the inappropriate comments by Knicks President Phil Jackson,” union executive director Michele Roberts said. “If players cannot, under threat of league discipline, speak openly about their desire to be employed elsewhere, we expect management to adhere to the same standards. The door swings both ways when it comes to demonstrating loyalty and respect.”
This is not the ideal way for the Knicks to begin their offseason after missing the playoffs for the fourth straight time. Adding more insult, the Knicks lost a random draft tiebreaker Tuesday.
The Knicks and Timberwolves finished with the same record, but Minnesota won the drawing. So the Timberwolves will be slotted to pick sixth in the June 22 draft and the Knicks seventh if there is no movement in next month’s lottery.