The 2017-18 NBA season marked the eighth year the Phoenix Suns missed the Western Conference Playoffs. The Suns are still in the middle of the rebuilding process and continuing to surround Devin Booker with quality players who can help them return to title contention. Last summer, the Suns had reportedly engaged in a trade negotiation with the New York Knicks involving Kristaps Porzingis.
In an appearance on the Ryen Russillo Show, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN revealed that the Suns had the opportunity to acquire Kristaps Porzingis, but they hesitated to include the No. 4 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, which turned out to be Josh Jackson, in the trade package.
“Last year, I thought Phoenix had a chance to get [Kristaps] Porzingis if they were willing to put the fourth pick in, which would’ve been Josh Jackson. Porzingis wasn’t super enthusiastic about Phoenix and what his future would’ve been there. They [wanted] to be able to re-sign him, so I get showing some restraint there.”
Kristaps Porzingis was frequently mentioned in various trade speculations last offseason. The rumors heated up when he decided not to show up in his exit interview with the Knicks. The Latvian center had a rumored dispute with former Knicks President of Basketball Operations Phil Jackson, and according to Dane Carbaugh of NBC Sports, the latter’s decision to make Porzingis available on the trading block served as the major reason why the team looked for his replacement.
As of now, it remains a mystery why the Suns passed on the deal. Pairing Kristaps Porzingis with Devin Booker could have helped them earn a playoff spot in the deep Western Conference last season. Woj may have revealed that Porzingis wasn’t “enthusiastic” in playing for the Suns, but bringing back the winning culture in Phoenix together with Booker could change the way he sees the team.
After having the worst record last season, the Suns succeeded to acquire the No. 1 pick in 2018 NBA Draft. Most mock drafts predicted that the Suns will select either DeAndre Ayton or Luka Doncic, but there is also a possibility that they will consider moving the precious pick if the right deal comes along.
Meanwhile, Knicks fans must be relieved that the deal didn’t push through. Kristaps Porzingis is a rare kind of talent whose skills fit well with the modern NBA. So far, the 22-year-old center/power forward is still recovering from a torn left ACL that is expected to keep him sidelined for the entire 2018-19 NBA season.