GREENBURGH, N.Y. (AP) The New York Knicks were midway through a miserable season when Phil Jackson received a text that started shaping their future.
A team official watching a game in Spain delivered a report Jackson couldn't ignore.
''I just saw a person we must consider for our first draft pick,'' Jackson said Friday of the message from Clarence Gaines.
A few months later, the Knicks took that player, Kristaps Porzingis, with the No. 4 pick in the NBA draft.
The Latvian forward impressed the Knicks with shooting range that Jackson said extends to 30 feet, his height of 7-foot-3 in sneakers, and something else that can't be measured in stats or sizes.
''I could immediately see that Kris was special and he was different,'' said general manager Steve Mills, who was sent to Spain to watch Porzingis and also recommended teammate Guillermo Hernangomez, whose rights the Knicks acquired in the second round but will remain overseas next season.
The Knicks also acquired the rights to Notre Dame guard Jerian Grant, who was drafted by Atlanta with the 19th pick and traded to New York for Tim Hardaway Jr.
Porzingis and Grant are the first of what the Knicks hope are a few additions this summer to a team coming off a franchise-worst 17-65 season.
''Both want to be in New York and accept the responsibility that comes with playing for the Knicks,'' coach Derek Fisher said.
That's particularly true of Porzingis, who said it was his dream to play for the Knicks and wasn't fazed by the boos that thundered through Brooklyn's Barclays Center after he was announced. He said he didn't need to use them as motivation.
''I'm a young guy coming into the league. I don't need motivation,'' the 19-year-old said. ''I'm going to be doing my thing, working as hard as I can, but of course I would love to turn those booing fans who didn't know me to fans who know me and cheer for me.''
The reaction was because of Knicks' fans recollection of the failed Frederic Weis pick long ago, and the disappointing play of Andrea Bargnani more recently. But Jackson mentions another European player whom the Knicks hope Porzingis more closely resembles.
Jackson said Pau Gasol recently told him he weighed about 227 when he came to the NBA in 2001, right about the 233 the Knicks list Porzingis at, before blossoming into an All-Star and later an NBA champion playing for Jackson in Los Angeles. He said Gasol ''reassured me that I was skinny kid when I came in the NBA too, and look how it's happened to me.''
Fisher, who played with Gasol in Los Angeles, felt it's too early for the comparisons.
''You can never decide on draft night that a guy's going to be Dirk Nowitzki or Pau Gasol or become a Hall of Fame player. I don't know if those guys saw themselves as that, but they obviously made a decision consciously at some point to become that,'' Fisher said. ''And at some point Kris will have that same decision: How good do I want to be?''
Porzingis appears to have the drive, leaving home at 15 to play professionally, and showed the Knicks plenty of game in a workout here that was attended by All-Star Carmelo Anthony.
Grant might be ready to make a quicker impact after a strong senior season in which he led the Fighting Irish to the ACC championship and was a national player of the year finalist. The son of former NBA forward Harvey Grant and nephew of Horace Grant - who played for Jackson in Chicago - believes he can be an immediate starter.
''Obviously I still have a long way to go, I think I'm going to get a lot better, but I do think I'm able to come in and start and help this team right away,'' Grant said.
But far more attention will be on Porzingis. Jackson said Gaines' recommendation made drafting Porzingis seem ''a once in a lifetime opportunity,'' and now the newcomer has to prove it was the right one.
''Now I'm the fourth pick or whatever pick, doesn't matter,'' Porzingis said. ''Now start from zero, everybody starts from zero. I've got to prove myself once again now with the best players in the world in the best league in the world.''