The Knicks don’t appear interested in trading Kristaps Porzingis, including a possible deal for Cavaliers All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving, according to a league source.
ESPN reported on Tuesday that the Cavaliers may be preparing for a future without LeBron James and have Porzingis as a “primary” target in trade scenarios for Irving. The Cavaliers appear focused on getting back a young star in return for Irving, the report said.
“[Knicks president] Steve Mills and [Knicks general manager] Scott Perry on the record were very clear that Kristaps was part of the future,’’ the source said in reference to comments made last month by both executives. “In all the discussions since then — there were other rumors before that Cleveland would want Kristaps — and it didn’t seem that [the Knicks] were interested at all in a conversation.’’
The ESPN report indicated that the Cavaliers would need to be willing to include oft-injured center Joakim Noah and the three years and $55 million remaining on his contract in any deal to entice the Knicks. Noah will miss the first 12 games of the season as he finishes a 20-game suspension for using a banned substance.
ESPN reported that the Cavaliers are trying to figure out what they would want back in an Irving deal without knowing for sure whether James will commit to them beyond this upcoming season. James, a 13-time All-Star who won one of his three NBA titles with the Cavaliers, can opt out of his contract next summer and become a free agent.
Irving reportedly demanded a trade from the Cavaliers last month and ESPN reported that the Knicks were among the four teams that Irving, a New Jersey native, wants to play for. The Spurs, Timberwolves and Heat were the others reported to be on his list. Irving does not have a no-trade clause and could be dealt to any team.
ESPN reported that Porzingis, Celtics rookie Jayson Tatum, Suns rookie Josh Jackson and Nuggets guard Jamal Murray, who averaged 9.9 points per game in his rookie season, are among the players the Cavaliers have interest in.
A spokesperson at ASM Sports, which represents Porzingis, said, “It’s agency policy not to comment on possible trade scenarios.’’ Porzingis is in his native Latvia for the European Championship.
Porzingis skipped his exit meeting with the Knicks at the end of the season, but Mills said last month that he and Porzingis had spoken a few times this summer.
“Kristaps and I have a hectic texting relationship,” Mills said. “I continue to text Kristaps over the summer and he and I have spoken two or three times over the summer.”
Former Knicks president Phil Jackson said he was fielding trade offers for Porzingis around the time of the draft in late June. The Knicks and Jackson parted ways a few days after the draft.
Porzingis, who averaged 18.1 points and 7.2 rebounds in 66 games last season, told NBA.com earlier this month that he would like to remain with the the Knicks.
“So far it’s been tough in New York, but my journey is only beginning and I hope to stay there my whole career so as a city we can have some fun and win some games and do something big,’’ he said. “For me, it’s now home.’’