Kristaps Porzingis, like the rest of us, is confused about the Knicks' direction

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<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nba/players/5464/" data-ylk="slk:Kristaps Porzingis">Kristaps Porzingis</a> has not played since tearing his ACL last February. (AP)
Kristaps Porzingis has not played since tearing his ACL last February. (AP)

Kristaps Porzingis was reportedly confused about the Knicks, which made him a true New Yorker.

As if Anthony Davis’ trade request wasn’t enough to carry the week’s NBA news cycle, fellow All-Star big man Porzingis met with Knicks management to discuss “his concern with the losing, franchise direction and an uncertainty that a culture is developing that will enable sustainable organizational success,” per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The 23-year-old reportedly “wants to play for a winner in New York, but is searching for clarity on his future role with the team and Knicks direction.”

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That clarity:


It’s been nearly a year since Porzingis tore his ACL in a game against the Milwaukee Bucks on Feb. 17, and the 7-foot-3 Latvian sensation has yet to play amid conflicting reports that he could be shelved until the end of the season. When last we heard official word from the Knicks on the matter, Porzingis was “healing well” in late December and scheduled to be reevaluated in February.

Then, on the eve of February, amid speculation that he could be packaged in a trade to New Orleans for Davis, Porzingis was once again skeptical of the Knicks’ intentions for him. And with good reason.

The Knicks have nosedived to the bottom of the NBA standings, maximizing their odds at the No. 1 pick and, by extension, at landing Davis in exchange. Maybe Porzingis just wanted to see if the Knicks were hoping to pair him with Davis. Or maybe he took one look down the roster and wondered if the Knicks had a Plan B if they don’t land the top pick. Or if the Knicks have any plan going forward at all.

Either way, he didn’t seem to get the answer he was looking for.

This was not the first time Porzingis had questioned Knicks management. Or the second. Or maybe even the third. He refused to meet with former team president Phil Jackson at the end of a miserable 2016-17 season in New York, which led Jackson to consider trading the skilled center, which led to Jackson’s firing, which led Porzingis to say of the Knicks, “I want to stay there my whole career.”

Jackson’s replacement, Steve Mills, declared this past summer that the team had mended its relationship with the face of the franchise. That declaration was seriously misguided.

Porzingis did not have the leverage Davis carries in New Orleans. He becomes a restricted free agent in July, which means his team can match any offer he receives on the open market. There is always the possibility that he could sign a qualifying offer for less than $5 million, foregoing long-term security in the hopes that he could make it up as an unrestricted free agent in 2020, but that seems like a considerable risk for somebody who is going on a year without playing after a major knee injury.

That said, potential trade partners also had to consider Porzingis’ viability moving forward. A knee injury for somebody his size could be career-altering, and it is awfully difficult to know whether it is or not without seeing him on the court. Teams had all of one week to weigh that risk with the reward that is a rim-running and rim-protecting All-Star big man with 3-point range at the tender age of 23.

And the Mavericks pulled the trigger.

And …

Good lord, what a day in the NBA.

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Ben Rohrbach is a staff writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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