‘Staps Wants to Stay

Kristaps Porzingis ‘Absolutely’ Wants to Stay with Knicks, Talks on Phil Jackson

Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis said he wants to spend his entire career in New York but acknowledged winning is the most important factor in deciding his long-term future.
“Absolutely, I want to stay here all my career,” Porzingis told Latvian magazine Sporta Avize, per Marc Berman of the New York Post. “But the thing I want most of all is winning. When the time comes, I will seriously start to think about it. Right now I just try to do my best.”

Porzingis, 21, skipped out on his exit meeting with Knicks President Phil Jackson due to displeasure with the organization’s direction. Ian Begley of ESPN.com reported Porzingis is unhappy with the inconsistent offensive philosophies and organizational outlook during his two years with the team.

While he stopped short of blasting Jackson, it’s clear Porzingis wants a clearer vision for the future. He was also not appreciative of how the Knicks president handled the Carmelo Anthony situation.
“This was a situation media did not hesitate to heat up more than it was in reality,” Porzingis said. “I think there was some mistakes from Phil—things he maybe shouldn’t [have] said or written, things that made the situation worse or made him not look good. But at the same time—it’s that kind of business. I understand.’’

Anthony, arguably the Knicks’ best player since Patrick Ewing, was the subject of near-constant trade rumors during the regular season. His relationship with Jackson slowly deteriorated in public and in private to the point it’s unlikely he returns in 2017-18 despite having a no-trade clause. Jackson told reporters that Anthony would be “better off somewhere else” at his season-ending press conference.

The discord reared its head on the court with the Knicks finishing 31-51. Porzingis said he wants to take more of a leadership role going forward, particularly on the defensive end.

As a player who wants to be leader someday—when I saw things we need to change and be better at—I tried to speak up in the locker room. But there are many players used to playing this kind of basketball for more than ten years so you can’t change them. Coaches can try but it is what it is.

In a one way this was a good year for me to see how can I handle so crappy a time and learn from that. It was unpleasant but valuable experience to learn from, to get through it and continue to play with the right attitude and maximum concentration. If you want to be a leader you have to start with yourself — first you have to look in the mirror and ask yourself: what can you do better? And only then tell your teammates what they should do better…a real test for the brains.

Regardless of Porzingis’ desire to stay in New York, his comfort with publicly pressuring the Knicks already does not speak well to Jackson’s tenure.


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