Kendrick Perkins calls Kristaps Porzingis 'a diva to the max,' says Knicks trade was right decision

Liz Roscher

If you’re looking for a major Kristaps Porzingis fan, Kendrick Perkins is not that guy. In a discussion about the New York Knicks on ESPN’s “The Jump” on Friday, the former NBA player revealed his true feelings about Porzingis, who was traded from the Knicks to the Dallas Mavericks in January. Perkins’ comments begin at the 1:10 mark in the video below.

“I’ve just never been high on a big man that’s a diva, and I feel like he’s a diva to the max. I could name 20 players that I’d take over Porzingis right now in this league. … I think they made the right decision. They got him up out of there, with all the off-court issues.”

Don’t hold back, Kendrick, tell us how you really feel.

That’s a lot of feelings about Porzingis, who didn’t play a single minute during the 2018-2019 season as he recovered from a torn ACL. And it’s not totally clear how Perkins came to the conclusion that Porzingis is a “diva.” Perkins mentioned off-the-court issues with Porzingis, which have been present. Porzingis has been accused of raping a woman in February 2018, which is still being investigated by police. He was also recently involved in an altercation outside a Latvian nightclub, but the Mavericks concluded Porzingis was not at fault.

Drama tends to follow Kristaps Porzingis, and Kendrick Perkins says that's why the Knicks made the right decision to trade him. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
Drama tends to follow Kristaps Porzingis, and Kendrick Perkins says that's why the Knicks made the right decision to trade him. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

Of course, there was also drama surrounding his trade from the Knicks to the Mavericks. According to ESPN, Porzingis and his agent (who is also his brother) met with the Knicks’ top brass to voice their displeasure with the team’s commitment to winning and building sustainable success, as well as with how badly the season had been going. (They were 10-40 at the time.) According to Knicks GM Scott Perry and president Steve Mills, Porzingis demanded that the Knicks trade him within seven days or he’d go back to Europe.

“Diva” is a strong word to use, but it’s hard to deny the drama that’s surrounded Porzingis in the past season. Since he hasn’t been able to play, it remains to be seen if the Knicks will be better off without him, and if the Mavericks will be better with him — and if he’ll be worth the drama.

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