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Kristaps Porzingis says he still wants to be a Knick, “I love New York”

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Kristaps Porzingis is frustrated with how the Knicks are being run and the dysfunction and drama around the team, so much so that he blew off his exit interview with Phil Jackson. This week Porzingis will head back to his native Latvia for the summer, and he will not likely be taking part in the triangle training sessions the coaching staff wants to run this summer.

Don’t confuse all that with him wanting out of New York.

Porzingis spoke to Marc Berman of the New York Post and assured Knicks fans he wants to be in orange and blue.

“Of course,” Porzingis told The Post at his luxury apartment complex in Manhattan, when asked if he wants to be a Knick next year. “I love New York. I love New York.”

Not that he was going anywhere anyway, he’s on his rookie contract, and the Knicks aren’t about to trade him, no matter what he asks.

Porzingis wouldn’t comment in any more depth on his frustrations with the team, saying it was not the right time. As a refresher, here’s what he said speaking to the media a week ago.

“No one’s comfortable with losing,” Porzingis said that day. “If it means going in the right direction and doing the right thing, let’s do that. But just having no idea the direction, then it’s not going to work out. The direction has to be clear what we want to do.”

The direction seems to be the triangle, although the players don’t appear to like it or Kurt Rambis pushing it. Porzingis wasn’t saying much, but staying away for the summer would speak volumes.

Porzingis is the fan favorite, the best player on the Knicks, and a young player trying to assert some authority. He may not be terribly smooth at doing so, but that doesn’t make him wrong — the shifts in direction with the Knicks, and how Jackson has handled the Carmelo Anthony situation have been a mess. The thing is, the Knicks just picked up the option on Jackson for a couple more years, and Porzingis isn’t going anywhere, so the two sides are going to have to come to some kind of an understanding. That or we will just get more of the Knicks being the Knicks like last season.

Report: First-round draft prospect says Phil Jackson fell asleep during his workout

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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.

O.G. Anunoby invited to NBA draft, Harry Giles declines

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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).

Report: Knicks’ asking price for Kristaps Porzingis ‘massive’

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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 recruits LeBron James to Lakers (video)

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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.