Kyle O'Quinn vouches for Knicks teammate Porzingis amid exit interview controversy

0:55 | NBA
Kyle O'Quinn on Porzingis' decision to skip exit interview
Friday June 23rd, 2017

Kyle O'Quinn vouched for his Knicks teammate Kristaps Porzingis during Sports Illustrated's live NBA draft show on Thursday, calling him a professional and downplaying the controversy over the forward's decision to skip his exit interview. 

The fracas over the missed meeting has led to a flurry of rumors that Porzingis could be on his way out of New York. Phil Jackson says he's open to trading his star big man, insisting that no player under his management had ever skipped his exit meeting. (False.)

But if Jackson has questions about Porzingis' commitment to the team, O'Quinn doesn't seem to share his concern. 

"He was a professional before he got here. You can't question a man's professionalism—if he makes a decision, he makes that decision," O'Quinn said. "He's not doing it for the media attention or just a knucklehead kid just making a knucklehead mistake. He was a professional and a lot of us on the team respect his professionalism on a very high level. 

"Me being 27 years old, I respect his professionalism and I've been in the league for five years. I'm sure it was a strategic method, whatever it was, he sent the message that he wanted to send as a professional in his career, and I think you have to do nothing but respect it." 

NBA
Phil Jackson’s Ego Is Destroying The Knicks

The Celtics and Knicks reportedly discussed a trade for the big man, but Porzingis remains a Knick—for now. 

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide—from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Andy Staples, Grant Wahl, and more—delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.