The New York Knicks quietly shopped Kristaps Porzingis before his meeting with the front office last January, according to an ESPN report.
The company line out of Madison Square Garden in the wake of the Kristaps Porzingis trade was that there was nothing they could do to convince the disgruntled star to stay in New York. He wanted out and the New York Knicks‘ front office had no choice but to trade the Latvian star.
However, a report from Ramona Shelburne of ESPN indicates that the Knicks were shopping Porzingis prior to his meeting with the front office on Jan. 31, 2019.
“The Knicks began gauging interest in Porzingis early in 2019,” Shelburne wrote. “According to sources, New York offered the New Orleans Pelicans a package centered around Porzingis in exchange for forward Anthony Davis. But former Pelicans general manager Dell Demps showed little interest in that discussion, and the Knicks took that as an indication that interest in Porzingis might not be as high leaguewide.”
In hindsight, trading Porzingis for Anthony Davis would have been a grand slam for the Knicks. Instead, the front office opted to use Porzingis to shed salary and open up two max free agent slots that resulted in no superstars.
It’s worth noting that the Knicks also received Dennis Smith Jr. and draft picks in the deal. But Smith has been largely inconsistent during his time in New York. Not to mention, the two first-rounders the Knicks netted in the deal will likely be in the low 20s considering the fact that the Dallas Mavericks are developing into a powerhouse in the Western Conference.
“Once the Porzingis brothers found out that the Knicks were discussing a trade with the Dallas Mavericks, sources said, they hurried a meeting the next morning and asked to be moved to one of four destinations: the Nets, Clippers, Raptors or Heat,” Shelburne wrote.
Knicks fans buried Porzingis for wanting out of New York, but it’s clear that his departure was a two-way street.
Of course, it’s hard to fault the Knicks for being wary of signing Porzingis to a long-term deal. His friction with the organization stretched back to the days of Phil Jackson and it’s unclear whether or not he would have ever been convinced to sign an extension.
Moreover, the ACL injury that ended Porzingis’ All-Star season was a legitimate concern as well. The Latvian is still trying to regain his All-Star form from the 2017-18 season. KP is currently averaging 16.4 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 2.0 blocks per game, but he’s been inefficient from the floor and still looks a step slow.