Joakim Noah

Report: Knicks not interested in trading Kristaps Porzingis for Kyrie Irving

1 Comment

With uncertainty around LeBron James‘ future in Cleveland — and good luck finding anyone around the league who thinks he is staying; LeBron’s options are open, but the sense is he has one foot out the door — the Cavaliers are prioritizing getting a young star to rebuild around back in any Kyrie Irving trade.

At the top of the Cavaliers’ wish list: Kristaps Porzingis.

Except the Knicks have no interest in this trade, reports Steven Marcus and Mike Rose of Newsday.

The Knicks don’t appear interested in trading Kristaps Porzingis, including a possible deal for Cavaliers All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving, according to a league source…

“[Knicks president] Steve Mills and [Knicks general manager] Scott Perry on the record were very clear that Kristaps was part of the future,’’ the source said in reference to comments made last month by both executives. “In all the discussions since then — there were other rumors before that Cleveland would want Kristaps — and it didn’t seem that [the Knicks] were interested at all in a conversation.’’

Nor should the Knicks give him up — even if they could dump the anchor Joakim Noah contract in the process.

Irving is a sure thing, an elite scorer and All-Star who averaged 25.2 points and 5.8 assists a game last season and shot better than 40 percent from three. Irving, entering his seventh season, can do more to help a team win next season than Porzingis. He can get more buckets.

But Porzingis could be better — and will be better suited to build a contender around — in the future. Entering just his third season and with the triangle gone, and maybe the shadow of Carmelo Anthony, too, Porzingis should become the focal point of the Knicks next season, and we can see what he will do. KP scored 18.1 points and grabbed 7.2 rebounds a game last season, shot 35.7 percent from three, and while still learning he brings more defense than Irving. Porzingis is a 7’3″ “unicorn” — there isn’t another player like him — and for many years he could be the future of the Knicks. He has the work ethic, he’s shown flashes, they just need to give him a real chance.

Also, the Knicks need to work starting this fall to mend the relationship that Phil Jackson tried to poison.

Bottom line, Irving is good, but the Knicks could build a contender around Porzingis if they handle it right. Not sure they can do that around Irving, and he is older. No way you make that trade if you’re the Knicks. That’s obvious… which is one reason Jackson needed to go.

 

Report: ‘Continues to be distance’ between Kristaps Porzingis, Knicks

Michael Reaves/Getty Images
15 Comments

The Knicks ousted Phil Jackson – who went out of his way to alienate Kristaps Porzingis – and promoted Steve Mills, who said he had a “hectic texting relationship” with the young big man. They exercised Porzingis’ 2018-19 team option. Porzingis said he wants to spend the rest of his career in New York.

So everything is now smooth between Porzingis and the Knicks?

Not necessarily, especially not with Kyrie Irving on the trade block.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

Porzingis has emerged as a primary Cleveland target, but that’s a conversation that can occur only with Cleveland’s willingness to unburden the Knicks of the three years and $55 million left on Joakim Noah‘s contract. For now, the conversation is a nonstarter for the Knicks, league sources said.

For the right All-Star player, though — Irving or otherwise — multiple NBA teams are seriously questioning how emphatic of a “no” that will stay for New York. There continues to be distance between Porzingis and the organization, and how the Knicks truly value Porzingis’ future could become clearer once they’re together to begin the season.

I am shocked that a regime that paid Tim Hardaway Jr. $71 million over four years and Ron Baker $9 million over two years – and gave both player options! – hasn’t elicited complete confidence from Porzingis.

Porzingis still has two seasons before restricted free agency. There’s still plenty of time for this relationship to fully heal.

Porzingis is also more valuable than Irving. Noah, who carries highly negative value, could bridge the gap to the Cavaliers star. But I wouldn’t trade Porzingis and Noah for Irving. The Knicks are likely to be mediocre for the rest of Noah’s contract, anyway. Better just to ride that out and still have Porzingis at the end of the tunnel. There’s no such guarantee with Irving, who will become an unrestricted free agent in two years.

But it sounds as if the Knicks must still work to get Porzingis back fully on the same page.

Report: Knicks interested in Kyrie Irving trade, but Kristaps Porzingis is off the table

5 Comments

Kyrie Irving wants out of LeBron James‘ shadow and has asked for a trade in what seems a preemptive “if he’s going to leave then I’m going to leave first” kind of move.

Irving also gave the Cavaliers a list of preferred destinations. Which is nice. Irving doesn’t have a no-trade clause, he has no real power in these negotiations because he has two years on his deal — it is basically a child’s Christmas list to Santa starting with “a Dragon-themed Luxury Playhouse.”

The Knicks are on Irving’s preferred list, and they are interested but know the team’s best player is off the table, reports Ian Begley of ESPN.

The Knicks, obviously, have strong interest in Kyrie Irving (just like 29 other teams) but I’m told people in the Knicks front office would not be willing at this point to include Kristaps Porzingis in a trade. Some with the organization would be willing to include future first-round picks and Carmelo Anthony in a deal for Irving, per league sources.

A few thoughts here. At the top of the list, this is the absolutely right and only call for the Knicks, no way KP is available. And on social media, Porzingis liked a fan’s tweet of Irving in a Knicks’ uniform, so we know what he is thinking.

We know Carmelo would want to go to Cleveland, the question is would the Cavaliers want him with Irving gone? If they feel LeBron is leaving next summer, would this help change that dynamic and help get the Cavaliers back to the Finals?

If I were in the Knicks front office, I’d pitch the Anthony idea (heck, I’d pitch a Joakim Noah trade too, just to lighten up the room with a laugh). Then we could talk about doing a trade without Anthony or Porzingis, which would mean picks, Courtney Lee, Willy Hernangomez, Frank Ntilikina, and another player to make the numbers work.

The Cavaliers can afford to be patient, and they aren’t beholden to Irving’s list. See if teams with young assets — Phoenix, Dallas, Denver, etc. — come up with better offers. Wait the market out, don’t rush. If no deal blows you away, move into the season with Irving.

The Knicks are as realistic an option as anything right now. The doors are wide open.

Report: Knicks sending second-rounder, cash to Kings for Scott Perry

3 Comments

The Knicks agreed to hire Scott Perry from the Kings.

But Perry, having been hired fewer than three months ago, was still under contract in Sacramento. So, the Kings will get compensation.

Sam Amick of USA Today:

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

That’s a hefty price for a No. 2 in the front office. Perry will hold the title of general manager in New York, but all indications are Steve Mills will run basketball operations as team president.

Front-office titles can be wonky. Some presidents handle just the business side, leaving the general manager to assemble the roster. Some teams don’t have presidents at all, and the general manager is clearly in charge of basketball. Other general managers are really like assistant general managers elsewhere.

How much influence Perry will have remains to be seen. It would be very Knicks to send the Kings so much then barely get much from him.

After all, this is a team paying a lot of money to Joakim Noah, Courtney Lee and Lance Thomas. The Knicks just entered into a massive four-year deal with Tim Hardaway Jr., too. Carmelo Anthony is (was?) on the trade block. Kristaps Porzingis is the jewel among the wreckage, but even he is dismayed by the state of affairs.

No matter his exact role, Perry is in for a major undertaking.

The job isn’t much easier for Vlade Divac and crew in Sacramento, but at least the Kings will get an extra pick. That can’t hurt.

Report: Knicks moving toward keeping Steve Mills as president

Maddie Meyer/Getty Images
10 Comments

The Knicks’ pursuit of Raptors president Masai Ujiri never got off the ground. Former Cavaliers general manager David Griffin is staying clear.

It appears Phil Jackson’s long-term successor will be both his predecessor and temporary replacement.

Steve Mills, a longtime on and off Knicks employee, ran their front office for a few months before they hired Jackson. Demoted during Jackson’s tenure, Mills is again in charge. And – as he hoped – he might stay in charge.

Marc Berman of the New York Post:

According to sources debriefed on their front-office search, owner James Dolan is moving forward with a plan that has Steve Mills remaining as the permanent president. No negotiations have taken place yet between the Knicks and Mills.

However, subsequent interviews will be done to find a No. 2 man under Mills, who will be part of the process from here on. Just as Jackson did, Mills is expected to have final say on personnel matters.

Mills’ No. 2 might be Allan Houston. The Knicks, who badly need established outside perspective – and pay wages that could often draw it – are so incestuous.

Mills seized control of the job while on interim status, signing Tim Hardaway Jr. to a four-year, $71 million deal that shocked some even within the organization. Then, in a perfectly Knicks follow-up, Mills skipped Hardaway Jr.’s press conference, an opportunity to explain the contract.

The Knicks have major issues. Carmelo Anthony, who possesses a no-trade clause, features prominently in tricky trade talks. Joakim Noah and, to lesser degrees, Lance Thomas and Courtney Lee (and maybe soon, Hardaway), are on burdensome long-term contracts. Rising star Kristaps Porzingis has been somewhat alienated by the organization.

Is Mills up to the task? Maybe.

My bigger question: If Mills weren’t already working for the Knicks, would Dolan have entrusted him with this job? I doubt it.

A halfhearted search yields a halfhearted result.

At least, if the Knicks were hiring their new president exclusively among former presidents, it could have been worse.