After three years of working together, Kyle O’Quinn decided to part ways with the New York Knicks in the recent offseason. Despite having a logjam at their frontcourt, Knicks Head Coach David Fizdale still wanted O’Quinn back to serve as a mentor to their young guys. Unfortunately, the 28-year-old center looked determined to leave and ended up signing a one-year, $4.45 million contract with the Indiana Pacers.
On Wednesday night, Kyle O’Quinn faced the Knicks for the first time in the 2018-19 NBA season as a member of the Pacers. The Pacers succeeded to defeat the Knicks, 107-101, but O’Quinn was only given three minutes to play. Before the game, O’Quinn visited his former teammates in their gym and had the chance to work with some of the Knicks’ staffs. The Knicks definitely missed O’Quinn’s presence in the locker room, but the hole he left in their frontcourt was immediately filled by former No. 9 overall pick Noah Vonleh.
In a recent interview with Marc Berman of the New York Post, Kyle O’Quinn talked about his departure from the Knicks this summer and his interest in playing for Coach David Fizdale. O’Quinn admitted that it’s a tough decision to leave his hometown team and compared it to “telling a girl that you’re moving on.”
“You talk to your agent, talk to people who help you, but you have to make it,” O’Quinn said. “It’s the biggest decision I’ve ever made as far as making a choice in my career. I slept on it, prayed on it. I made the decision and I’m sticking with it. It’s no secret I would’ve loved to play for Fizdale or be here. It’s tougher than telling a girl you’re moving on.”
So far, Kyle O’Quinn doesn’t seem to have any regrets with his decision to part ways with the Knicks this summer. While the Knicks are still in the middle of the rebuilding process and currently prioritizing the development of their young players, the Pacers are expected to compete in the Eastern Conference Playoffs this season.
Despite being on a new team, Kyle O’Quinn continues to have communication with Kristaps Porzingis, whom he considered as one of his best friends in New York. Porzingis is currently recovering from a torn ACL and expected to be sidelined for most of the 2018-19 NBA season. O’Quinn is very confident that Porzingis will be back stronger and eventually become a legitimate superstar in the league.
“Having tasted being an All-Star, I’m sure he wants to get into that superstar spot, which I always thought he’d be,” O’Quinn said. “I talked to him earlier and he’s in good spirits. He’s just ready to go back on the court and show everybody his work.”