The Knicks are providing more drama than “Hamilton” on Broadway — and with cheaper ticket prices.
Phil Jackson vs. Carmelo Anthony war or words continued on Friday with Jackson saying ‘Melo would be better off on another team, and Anthony responding on Instagram with a Great Gatsby reference (seriously). Then there’s the triangle offense and Jackson stepping on Jeff Hornacek’s toes drama. It’s all rather ridiculous drama leading up to a ‘Melo trade this summer, but it could be having another impact.
The future star of the franchise Kristaps Porzingis is sick of all this, and he skipped his exit meeting with the team because of it, reports Ian Begley of ESPN.
Kristaps Porzingis skipped exit meetings with New York Knicks management due to frustration over what he perceives as the dysfunction and drama surrounding the organization, team sources told ESPN.com….
Porzingis, according to team sources, is frustrated with the lack of direction with the team, which is headed by team president Phil Jackson.
So, he’s like every Knicks fan then.
The difference is Porzingis isn’t going anywhere — he’s still on his rookie contract, and he’s not going to walk away from the max extension the Knicks will undoubtedly offer him after next season. He’s going to be a Knicks for eight or nine years to start his career, most likely.
Which means he likely outlasts Jackson, who just had the last two years of his deal picked up by owner James Dolan. This move by Porzingis seems a message to Jackson and more importantly to Dolan that he is not happy. KP could threaten to leave after his rookie deal (which has a lot of risks), but that’s another level. This was a warning shot. Whatever move Porzingis makes, the Knicks fans will back him before Jackson, Dolan, or anyone else.
All this and the summer of drama in New York is just getting started.
Like I said, there are better reasons to criticize Phil Jackson than him saying his priority was the Knicks and that he had discussed trading Kristaps Porzingis.
Jay Williams of ESPN:
A top-15 draft pick told me the other day, because we were involved in this out of this conversation about Phil Jackson and the Knicks, and he said, “Phil Jackson was falling in and out of sleep in my workout.”
Yes. “Falling in and out of sleep at my workout.” This is what this guy told me.
Especially given Jackson’s salary and reputation for not being a diligent worker, this story is too good to check out.
The NBA’s invitations to the draft are a good indicator of when players will get drafted. The league samples executives, who are more likely to be honest here than in leaks to the media, about how they rank players. So, the list is worth monitoring.
The players who will attend tonight’s draft nearly match the leaks – with one exception. O.G. Anunoby is going, and Harry Giles isn’t.
Here are the players who will be at the draft – a reasonable placeholder for the players most likely to get picked in the top 20 – via A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN New England:
Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress:
Harry Giles declined his invite sources told DraftExpress.
Did Giles decline his invite because, with his extensive injury history, he feared falling too far? Or did he just prefer to watch elsewhere?
Was Anunoby simply 21st on the NBA’s list of players to invite? Or was the league too unsure of his medical status to include him until getting a stronger grasp now?
I don’t know, but the possibility that Giles could slip or Anunoby is more secure alters my perception of their draft stock (Anunoby up, Giles down).
What has Phil Jackson actually done? He discussed trading Kristaps Porzingis with other teams and called the Knicks, not Porzingis, his priority. That’s it.
At face value, this is fine. It’s what devoted executives, not always Jackson, should do.
Jackson hasn’t traded Porzingis for meager return. He hasn’t traded Porzingis at all.
Everyone up in arms should take a deep breath.
Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe:
David Aldridge of NBA.com:
I wouldn’t rule out the Knicks trading Porzingis. The No. 1 pick got traded, after all. I wouldn’t rule out them trading Porzingis for too little return. Look at Jackson’s track record running the front office.
But wait until they do before bashing Jackson for not understanding Porzingis’ value.
There are plenty of better reasons to criticize Jackson, including overseeing the toxic culture that led to Porzingis skipping his exit interview and setting this latest “crisis” into motion. Publicly discussing trading Porzingis won’t endear Jackson to the budding star, but the problem is how it reached this point. Players in sound organizations can handle this. Jackson has engendered little confidence from his players, the distrust existed well before this round of trade talks.
Lonzo Ball doesn’t play for the Lakers. LeBron James isn’t a free agent.
But they’re headed that way – and Ball is already embracing it.
The Lakers are expected to draft Ball No. 2 tonight, and rumors are heating up about LeBron leaving the Cavaliers in 2018.
Why should LeBron join Ball in Los Angeles?
Ball on ESPN:
LeBron, I like to win. I know you like to win. I think our games can help each other out a lot. Any time you want the ball, just let me know. It’s going to be there.
Ball was asked to to pitch LeBron, so it’s not as if Ball is out here talking so brashly on his own. But answering the question was a rookie mistake.
Besides, I’m not sure Lonzo Ball can undo the bad blood between LeBron and LaVar Ball.