The Knicks have been pleased to see a huge crowd of players streaming into the team’s practice facility through the offseason. And to add to the excitement, when team president Steve Mills looked out at the court Wednesday he saw a familiar face, Kristaps Porzingis.
“The last six weeks they’ve been together in New York,” Mills said. “I think I was really excited [Wednesday]. We were up at the training facility and we looked out on the court and we had 17 players there, including Kristaps. So that was just a good thing to see them having fun, getting together and being excited about what is about to take place when we start training camp. So we feel good about the camaraderie of the group, the guys that we have together, the feeling that they have and we have about where we are going.”
But the appearance of the 7-foot-3 star on the floor didn’t change his schedule as he works his way back from the torn ACL he suffered Feb. 6, when he came down awkwardly under the basket at Madison Square Garden. While Porzingis arrived in New York after spending the summer working in Latvia and Spain, Mills was not yet ready to put a timetable in place for a potential return.
“We sat down with Kristaps and we’ve been in contact with Kristaps all summer and our guys have been back and forth with him,” Mills said. “We feel good about how the rehab process is going. There are obviously different steps we have to go through in the process to see where he is. We feel good about the direction he is going and how he’s coming along.
“As we go through the process with him there are a series of tests that are constantly taking place to see where he is in his rehab. And as he meets certain milestones we will continue his rehab process, all towards the direction of when he feels 100 percent comfortable and we feel 100 percent comfortable and we’re not taking any risk with him, then he’ll be ready to come back.”
NOT COMING BACK
One player who will not be back is Joakim Noah, who is still under contract, but after being separated from the team last season is continuing to work on a buyout. He still has two years and nearly $38 million remaining on his deal, but will not be with the team when camp opens Monday, whether or not the contract issue is settled.
“The situation with Joakim is pretty much the same,” general manager Scott Perry said. “Nothing has changed other than we’re in constant communication with his representation. Training camp is a few days off. The hope is we can come to a resolution that is both advantageous to Joakim and the Knicks. That’s where it is.”