LOS ANGELES — Kyrie Irving said he was disappointed not to have had a chance to play with Kristaps Porzingis in the All-Star Game and he sent the injured Knicks 7-3 center “well-wishes.”
The Celtics point guard also revealed that he paid Porzingis a compliment when the Knicks played in Boston in October earlier this season.
“I told him I would love to play with a big like you, man, when we played them in the beginning of the season when he came to Boston,’’ Irving said during the media session after practice on Saturday. “He’s so versatile. So I wish him nothing but the best and hope he comes back even stronger.”
This was going to be Porzingis’ first All-Star Game appearance. His coming out party got ruined when he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. He has since had surgery and is not expected back until sometime next season.
Irving, who underwent knee surgery in 2016, has total empathy for Porzingis’ situation.
“So I’m sending my well wishes to him,” said Irving, who underwent his own knee surgery in 2016. “That dude is so freakin’ talented. It’s tough, man. It’s tough.
“You just hope that mentally he’s able to jump over those hurdles. It’s tough coming back and knowing the process and kind of having that window that you’re trying to hit in terms of how long you have to wait in order to do certain things. But I know he’s always in the gym; he’s always a hard worker. So I wish Porzingis nothing but the best . . . He’s so versatile.”
Jazz rookie Mitchell wins Slam Dunk contest
His father is a senior Mets executive.
LI’s Harris brings family
Long Island’s Tobias Harris had his brothers and parents in the Staples Center stands Saturday night to watch him compete in the three-point shooting contest. Though he did not win the event — Devin Booker set a new scoring record with 28 points — Harris said he enjoyed getting to be a part of the competition in his new arena.
Harris was traded to the Clippers on Jan. 29 in a trade that sent Blake Griffin to the Detroit Pistons. He said he is happy to have a new opportunity with a new team.
“I’m excited to be a part of this organization,” he said. “It’s a great team, a great organization and I’m happy just to be here.”
Mitchell wins Slam Dunk
Jazz rookie guard Donovan Mitchell beat Larry Nance Jr., 98-96, in the final round to win the Slam Dunk contest. Mitchell donned a Vince Carter Raptors jersey and did his signature 360 windmill for his final dunk to seal title. Mitchell’s father is the Mets director of player relations.
Silver: Playoff changes get attention
Commissioner Adam Silver said the idea of picking the best 16 teams in the league for the playoffs rather than taking eight from the East and West is “getting some serious attention” in the league office.
“The biggest obstacle is the travel and not tradition in my mind,” Silver said. “We are concerned about the overall travel that we would have with the top 16 teams.”