When he was drafted as the No. 4 overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, Kristaps Porzingis was viewed as one of the players who would lead the New York Knicks back to title contention. Unfortunately, after spending his first three years in the league in New York, Porzingis’ relationship with the Knicks turned sour, which led to a shocking trade before last season’s trade deadline.
Since the blockbuster deal with the Dallas Mavericks, rumors have been circulating regarding the main reason why Porzingis demanded a trade from the Knicks.
During that time, most people were blaming then-Knicks President Phil Jackson for Porzingis’ departure from the Knicks. In his recent article, Ian Begley of SportsNet New York revealed that Jackson wasn’t the “root” of Porzingis’ issue with the Knicks, but his “lack of faith” that they could build a roster that could legitimately contend for the NBA championship.
“According to some around the team, Porzingis remained fully committed to staying in New York in the weeks prior to the trade. It’s unclear what, specifically, changed in January that led him to alter his thinking. There’s been an assumption that ex-team president Phil Jackson was the root of Porzingis’ issues with the club. That’s incorrect. Some people around the Knicks during Porzingis’ tenure in New York said his issues stemmed from a lack of faith that the Knicks could create a winning environment, one where he could thrive individually and on the team level.”
When Porzingis made it clear that he really wanted out of New York, the Knicks immediately started listening to trade offers for the Latvian center. In the blockbuster deal with the Mavericks, the Knicks got all the things they demanded from Porzingis: salary cap relief, future draft picks, and a young player. However, as of now, the Knicks have yet to show that they are the ones who won that trade.
Despite having enough salary cap space and a plethora of trade assets, the Knicks still failed to acquire their top targets in the 2019 NBA offseason. Anthony Davis ended up being traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, while Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant decided to team up with the other team in New York: the Brooklyn Nets.
Meanwhile, Dennis Smith Jr. has yet to live up to expectations as the player who is expected to be the Knicks’ point guard of the future.
Smith lost the starting role to Elfrid Payton, and he’s struggling to be consistent on both ends of the floor. As of now, Porzingis continues to prove that he made the right decision to demand a trade from the Knicks. While the Knicks are projected to suffer another disappointing season, Porzingis and the Mavericks are currently playing well, sitting in the No. 2 spot in the Western Conference with a 5-2 record.