The New York Knicks will not retain the services of player development coach Josh Longstaff. Normally, the organization parting ways with a lower-rung assistant coach wouldn’t warrant much controversy. But these are the Knicks, so fasten your seatbelts.
Longstaff was one of the few remaining holdovers of Derek Fisher’s original staff, but more importantly he developed a connection with multiple current players — most notably Porzingis — and went overseas last year to help train the Latvian forward. Porzingis had even requested that Longstaff serve as an assistant on his Latvian national team this summer for the European championships, as The News previously reported.
The timing here is awkward, to say the least. One can imagine the negotiations taking place between Phil and the Porzingis family regarding Kristaps’ offseason:
Phil: “Don’t play in the Euros.”
Kristaps: “I want to play, and you can’t stop me.”
Phil: “Fine, but you have to take one of our coaches with you.”
Kristaps: “That’s fair. I want the coach who worked with me in Latvia last summer.”
Phil: “Oh you do, do you? Well guess what...he’s not coming back! How do you like them apples?”
Anyway, Longstaff was very much respected for his talent and work ethic.
Wasn't just Porzingis' fav bc they were boys. Knicks players respected his skills as a player development coach https://t.co/gJ9sxWywo4— Yaron Weitzman (@YaronWeitzman) May 22, 2017
Can confirm. Longstaff and Dave Bliss were both integral part of developing Knicks' young players like KP, Hernangomez, Baker, Kuzminskas... https://t.co/414EFZVS0p— Mike Vorkunov (@Mike_Vorkunov) May 21, 2017
Save us, Pablo. We need you.