Knicks president Phil Jackson is not ruling out the possibility of trading Kristaps Porzingis, according to The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
A “frenzy of interest” in Porzingis has emerged, according to Wojnarowski, as other teams become aware of Jackson’s stance on the matter.
ESPN’s Ian Begley reports the Knicks’ brass has not been in touch with Porzingis at all since he skipped his exit interview at the end of the season. The decision was seen as a sign of frustration given the team’s mixed fortunes. Porzingis’s brother Janis, who also works as one of his agents, told Begley that Kristaps loves New York and hopes to stay.
“Despite how the Knicks are treating their players, Kris wants to stay in New York,” Janis Porzingis told ESPN. “He loves the city and he loves the fans and he wants to win with this team. If he's going to be traded, he's going to play out his contact and decide his future on his own.”
Both Chris Mannix of The Vertical and Zach Lowe of ESPN report that teams are skeptical whether the Knicks actually intend to trade Porzingis, given how high their asking prices have been in deals.
Porzingis, 21, is one of the more promising young big men in the league and is seen as the Knicks’ most valuable long-term asset. This news comes two days before the NBA draft, in which the Knicks hold the eighth pick in the first round. Wojnarowski reports the Knicks met with Arizona forward Lauri Markkanen on Monday, who could be in play at No. 8 if the Knicks deal Porzingis.
New York could conceivably garner a major return for Porzingis, who averaged 18.1 points and 7.2 rebounds per game last season, his second in the NBA. The Knicks have received several calls about Porzingis already, according to Begley.
The status of the team and Carmelo Anthony is also unclear given Jackson’s public comments in the past, but Anthony has a full no-trade clause.