Kristaps Porzingis still loves New York, isn't ready to commit to Phil Jackson

The city of New York is so nice, <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nba/players/5464/" data-ylk="slk:Kristaps Porzingis">Kristaps Porzingis</a> said he loves it twice. (AP)
The city of New York is so nice, Kristaps Porzingis said he loves it twice. (AP)

Kristaps Porzingis made two things clear when the New York Post tracked him down at his luxury Manhattan apartment before he left for Latvia on Thursday: 1) “Of course” he still wants to be on the Knicks, and 2) “I love New York,” so much so he said it twice, just like Frank Sinatra would’ve wanted.

As for the 7-foot-3 phenom’s relationship with team president Phil Jackson, well — not so much.

“It’s not the right moment to comment on anything [about it],” he said. “I don’t want to say anything.”

As we mentioned, Porzingis planned to leave on Thursday for Latvia, where he’s scheduled a news conference for Monday to reportedly announce his intent to play in the European Championships after a three-year hiatus from the national team, according to the Post. And as The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported, Porzingis might not return from his home country until close to training camp.

Still lingering in the air from the end of New York’s 2016-17 season are Porzingis’ final postgame interview, in which he said “it’s not going to work out” if the Knicks have “no idea the direction,” and his decision to skip an exit interview with Jackson. All of which means Porzingis will indeed be leaving the city he loves and the team he wants to play for in Jackson’s hands without speaking to the man.

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There is dysfunction, and then there are the Knicks, whose owner cusses out fans and treats ex-players even worse, and whose head of basketball operations capped a season-long feud with the guy he signed to a max contract by stating “he is a player that would be better somewhere else.”

To say the Knicks have some stuff to figure out is an understatement, and one would think the first step toward solving those issues would be for Jackson to sit down with Porzingis, the man who would presumably fill the franchise player shoes left by the apparent impending trade of Carmelo Anthony.

Let’s not forget Jackson also said nobody on the Knicks roster was untouchable, including Porzingis, which seems like another reason you might want to clear the air with your 21-year-old cornerstone. But no, that wouldn’t be the Knicks. They would much prefer to leave a cloud hanging over New York.

WFAN Radio host Mike Francesa summed up the whole situation in his reading of the Porzingis news:


“Ahhhh … don’t worry, he still wants to be a Knick … this is … ahhhh … Porzingis will … ahhhh … says that, OK, ‘I love New York. I love New York.’ … Ahhhh … uhhhh … [grumbling] … uhhhh [more grumbling followed by a grunt] … OK, so, still wants to be here. I never thought he didn’t, so I don’t know why anyone thought he didn’t. Ahhhh … he’ll hold a press conference next week in his hometown … ahhhh … to formerly announce his participitation — participation on the Latvian national team. OK, have fun.”

There you have it, folks. I couldn’t have said it better myself. And if you need evidence Porzingis really does love New York, just check out what he was doing this week instead of meeting with Phil Jackson:


It’s nice to see Porzingis following Francesa’s advice to have fun. Someone on the Knicks should be.

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Ben Rohrbach is a contributor for Ball Don’t Lie and Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at rohrbach_ben@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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