The New York Knicks held their introductory press conference on Thursday and there wasn’t much substance, but the positivity was palpable.
The New York Knicks introductory press conference gave no surprises. It would be hard to pick this press conference out of a lineup of press conferences, to be honest. The triumvirate of Steve Mills, Scott Perry, and David Fizdale discussed the culture, rarely detailed specifics, and exuded confidence.
It was everything that one comes to expect from these events. In fact, the town hall event on Monday night with fans shed just as much light on the direction the franchise is heading. Thursday’s press conference reiterated much of what was discussed on Monday.
Questions Surrounding Kristaps Porzingis
The Knicks brass remains overwhelmingly positive about the Knicks future. That future begins and ends with Kristaps Porzingis – a common topic in Madison Square Garden. Mills and company wouldn’t discuss details of the rehab process, but they feel good about where they’re at with KP. This answer won’t change much in the foreseeable future.
They also discussed Porzingis’ upcoming extension. As expected, Mills said that they plan on keeping contract negotiations in-house and they don’t seem to be open to releasing many details on that front. What Mills would say is that they are confident in their ability to negotiate with Porzingis, whenever that may be.
What he did say is that:
“He will never feel like he’s not a cornerstone part of what we’re trying to do here. He understands that crystal clear to him and his reputation.”
Porzingis isn’t stupid. He knows the Knicks cap situation is much better off if he waits until next summer to sign an extension. He knows he will secure his money at some point and he also knows that they’re in better position to sign another star if he waits. It’s not the perfect situation, but Porzingis is smart enough to know the deal. Additionally, there has been no indication that KP’s camp is upset that they have yet to reach a contract extension.
Trading Assets and Draft Picks
“We want to draft players and develop them. That’s the plan we laid out for our team.”
This quote from Steve Mills seems to be the most telling statement from the town hall and the introductory press conference. By all indications, the front office is committed to the long-term plan. There will be no shortcuts at Penn Plaza and it’s safe to assume this means they are not in hot pursuit of Jimmy Butler.
Mills and Perry can’t comment on specific players from other teams due to the NBA’s tampering rules, but they made it pretty clear that they have little interest in going all-in for the star.
To be clear, if the perfect offer is on the table, the Knicks (or any team for that matter) will take it. Never say never. That being said, a Butler trade to the Knicks seems highly unlikely at this stage.
- Regarding Joakim Noah, there are no new details. Scott Perry said, “It is what it is right now.” That’s about the best way to explain the situation. He wouldn’t rule out Noah coming to training camp, but he did see they are talking with his representation and looking for an “advantageous” solution for both parties.
- Fizdale spoke about what kind of style he wants to play. He mentioned that he wants to be a fast team and utilize their athleticism. He also mentioned how he wants the defense to be a hallmark of the squad. He also mentioned that with a young team it might take some time to learn how to win, but they’re committed to letting the young guys do so.
- Steve Mills said, “Everybody that works for us is in player development.” He made sure to note that player development is a main focus for the organization. The trio spoke about the hiring of Fizdale’s coaching staff and they noted that player development and culture fit were some of the biggest factors that went into their decision.
- When the subject of tanking came up, Fizdale noted that in his first interview with the team Mills and Perry said that they will never tank. The goal is to win every game.
- In regards to James Dolan, Mills said, “He’s gonna give us the room to do this the way we laid out.” He went on to say that if they want to deviate from the plan in a major way, they’ll involve Dolan, but they have the freedom to operate independantly.
While there wasn’t a ton of new information to glean from Thursday’s press conference, the confidence exuded by Mills, Perry, and Fizdale was hard to miss. New York has seen this song and dance before — and perhaps this is yet another failure waiting to happen — but the new regime deserves a fair shot to implement their plan.