Porzingis: "I think he was as professional as he can be in his time here in New York." 

By Daniel Rapaport
December 15, 2017

The Thunder travel to New York to play the Knicks at Madison Square Garden this Saturday. It's a matchup between two teams hovering around .500, but what makes the game noteworthy is that it's Carmelo Anthony's first time back at MSG since he was traded to Oklahoma City before this season.

Anthony only took the Knicks past the first round one time in six-plus seasons with the Knicks, and his ball-stopping tendencies frustrated many fans. But he also put in some iconic performances, handled Phil Jackson's public criticism quite well and seemed to maintain a professionalism despite constant trade rumors throughout his final season in New York. 

All this goes to say, the reaction he receives from the crowd on Saturday night will probably be mixed. But the player who has succeeded Anthony as the franchise guy, Kristaps Porzingis, thinks the fans should receive 'Melo with love. 

"I think he was as professional as he can be in his time here in New York," Porzingis, who left Thursday's game against the Nets with a knee injury, told ESPN's Ian Begley. "So I don't see why they would not receive him with love."

Porzingis has shown an ability to navigate the New York media landscape well; being the Knicks' star comes with incredible scrutiny, but the Latvian–who is still just 22 (!) years old—always says the right thing. This is another example.

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