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Kristaps Porzingis is returning to New York for the second time since being traded by the Knicks at the beginning of 2019.
The No. 4 overall pick made by the Knicks in 2015 reflected on his time in New York ahead of Friday's matchup with Dallas, saying it still has a place in his heart.
"I miss the city. I miss this place. A lot of great memories," Porzingis said. "Every time I come back it’s special. A lot of people here still recognize me and show me love and support. It’s always good to come back.
"A lot of things happened. Injury happened. ACL. It was a tough one. I was out for a long time. Just a domino effect. Multiple things happened. And the end result was that. Who knows how we could’ve been if I didn’t get hurt. Multiple different situations could’ve happened. But it is what it is. Now in Dallas, my second year in Dallas. I do have great memories of New York and I do miss the city, I miss the fans. I had a great time there when I was there."
Though it's been over two years since leaving the Knicks, Porzingis said that he's kept in touch with both players and members of the organization.
"A lot of guys that we exchange text messages or messages on Instagram, things like that," he said. "And also people that work there. A lot of great memories, a lot of great relationships that I’ve built there that I will have for a lifetime. And that’s something outside of basketball. Just thankful for my time here and thankful for the relationships."
When the Knicks traded Porzingis, they were a team sitting in the cellar of the Eastern Conference. But this season, they're right in the thick of things for a solid playoff spot, so thing Porzingis has noticed as he's observed teams around the league.
"They’re good, they’re playing physical, they’re playing a little bit slower, but they take their time and they have good group, they play hard defensively. Very solid team," Porzingis said. "They’re not a team we can overlook and think that we’re going to come in there and beat them. Especially when they’re at home. So we’re going to take them very seriously and prepare for them."
The Mavericks are four games above .500 at 25-21, while the Knicks are sitting at exactly .500 (24-24), but they're Knicks are currently sitting in sixth in the East (really tied for fifth and only one game out of the four spot), whereas Dallas is in the seven spot in the West and just half a game ahead of eighth.
Friday night's game should be a lot of fun.