Kristaps Porzingis

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

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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

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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: Fearing LeBron James leaving, Cavaliers prioritizing young star in Kyrie Irving trade

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The Cavaliers are reportedly prioritizing youth in a Kyrie Irving trade.

Make no mistake what that means about LeBron James.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

Cleveland is determined to get an elite young player for Irving, which means this: The trade plan the Cavaliers would have prioritized, with James committed for the long term — veterans to surround James and draft picks — isn’t in motion.

The process of building out the franchise’s roster long term has accelerated with Irving’s trade request. The Cavaliers have witnessed James’ exit strategy twice — once to leave Cleveland and once to return — and the Irving trade request has left them unwilling to squander the opportunity to replenish young assets on a roster that could be crippled in a post-James Cavaliers era that is stocked with high-priced veterans.

The Cavaliers find themselves far more fixated on a young star, including New York’s Kristaps Porzingis, Boston’s Jayson Tatum, Phoenix’s Josh Jackson and Denver’s Jamal Murray, league sources told ESPN.

This is not the strategy I’d take.

The Cavaliers are as much on the cusp of a title as any other team can be while these Warriors exist. It’s so hard to reach that point, I wouldn’t downgrade even a faint chance at a championship this year for a boost in rebuilding back to this point in some vague future. The Cavs, without shame, could go the entire career of whatever player they get for Irving without contending for a title. They know the opportunity is in front of them right now.

If LeBron committed to Cleveland long-term, I’d prioritize players who could help the next 2-3 years. If he won’t commit long-term, I’d push all-in for this season – one last chance to win a championship with LeBron. That means targeting players whose value is mostly derived from the upcoming season – players on expiring contracts and older players. (The Cavs already missed on the player who, by far, best fits that mold: Paul George.)

LeBron might be less likely to return to a team ravaged by 2018 free agency and aging, but a title this season would last forever. It also might be harder for him to leave a defending champion.

The Cavaliers’ actual strategy seemingly has a clearer effect. If LeBron hasn’t made up his mind, this could push him out. He might even be leaning toward re-signing with the Cavs. But that becomes far less appealing if the team stocks up on young players not ready to win.

Ultimately, LeBron must bear the weight of Cleveland going down this path. He allows rumors about the Lakers to linger unchecked – even feeding into them. If he wanted the Cavaliers to build around him, he could signal his commitment. Instead, he has only expressed his dismay – directly and indirectly – with their offseason.

I think this is largely about power – LeBron wanting the Cavs to commit to him without him committing to them. They do all the heavy lifting of building a roster for him, and he might return, or he might not. It’s a game they’ve played before, and one I’d play again. They seem tired of it.

It’s technically not too late for LeBron to privately pledge loyalty and send the organization on a different trade route. This report might even be from Cleveland, trying to light a fire under him. But it seems extremely unlikely for LeBron to become suddenly committal.

And then there’s Irving. The Cavaliers want a young star? Good luck finding someone better than Irving. Porzingis, Tatum, Jackson and Murray all offer more team control – and that’s extremely important, especially if Irving is unhappy in Cleveland. But the Cavs would be surrendering talent in all deals besides Porzingis – plus the chance Irving rescinds his trade request in a post-LeBron world.

Maybe the Cavaliers should just keep Irving another year and hope the distractions remain mild enough that the team can still compete for a title. If LeBron returns and/or Irving still wants out, they could always trade Irving next summer.

Right now, Cleveland has a shot at the 2018 championship and a 25-year-old four-time All-Star. It seems the Cavs are fine losing both.

Knicks do the obvious, expected: Pick up 2018-19 option on Kristaps Porzingis

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This was as predictable as President Trump Tweeting something ridiculous. We all know it was coming, the only question was when.

In a surprise to absolutely nobody, the New York Knicks have picked up their 2018-19 option on Kristaps Porzingis.

This move seems like a no-brainer, but remember just a few months back Phil Jackson was running the show and needlessly getting in a pissing match with Porzingis.

After this season, the Knicks can and will offer a max extension to Porzingis. That can be a five-year contract starting at around $25.5 million (assuming the projected $102 million salary cap, and assuming Porzingis is not named NBA MVP, in which case the starting salary jumps north of $30 million).  Porzingis is worth that, although he needs to show that he can truly grow into the franchise cornerstone and leader he has shown signs of being his first two years. (Moving out of the shadow of Carmelo Anthony would help that, but trading ‘Melo is an entirely different problem, and Porzingis has said he doesn’t want to see Anthony moved.)

Meanwhile, Porzingis just keeps working out with Dirk Nowitzki.

Report: Knicks, Rockets “re-engaged” on Carmelo Anthony trade talks, still major hurdles

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The Knicks and Rockets are back at it.

That doesn’t mean they are any closer to a deal.

The Knicks want to trade Carmelo Anthony so they can build around Kristaps Porzingis. ‘Melo is good with that so long as he is traded only to Houston (he has the no-trade clause to get his way, and with the Kyrie Irving situation Cleveland is now off the table). The Rockets would love to add Anthony, but they need a third team to take on Ryan Anderson‘s contract (three years, $60 million, the Knicks don’t want it) and no team has been willing to do that without serious sweeteners — such as two high first round picks. Not many teams have the space to do it period. Talks stalled out before because no third team could be found.

But the Knicks and Rockets are trying again, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

The New York Knicks and Houston Rockets have re-engaged on trade talks involving 10-time All-Star Carmelo Anthony, with the Rockets again canvassing third-team trade partners to construct a deal, league sources told ESPN.

Anthony remains steadfast that he only plans to waive his no-trade clause for the Rockets and refuses to expand his list to include more possible destinations, league sources said….

The Knicks remain willing to start training camp with Anthony, 33, on the roster, and a real scenario exists where the Rockets and Anthony remain patient that a deal could have to wait until the regular season is underway, league sources said.

The Knicks are saying no trade is better than a bad trade. They are right. They technically don’t have to trade Anthony.

However, bringing Anthony into training camp would create a media circus. Plus, the Knicks want to start focusing their rebuild around Porzingis and Tim Hardaway Jr. (and maybe Frank Ntilikina), and having Anthony on the floor is going to mean he gets a lot of shots, which could slow the development of the Knicks young stars.

The rumors aren’t going anywhere, the two sides can talk all they want, but until some team is found that is willing to take on Anderson nothing has changed.