Remember when Phil Jackson and the New York Knicks seemed to put their bizarre public feud with franchise cornerstone Kristaps Porzingis behind them so they could focus on the draft?
Yeah, that was a nice 36 hours or so. Fans had one day to sit back and imagine a future orange-and-blue defensive gauntlet featuring the long-limbed powers of Porzingis and freshly-minted first-round pick Frank Ntilikina. And it was a glorious one day!
Alas, the pettiest franchise in sports couldn’t resist getting back to what it does best: Taking swipes at its own players. Per Marc Berman, the front office is extremely worried about Kristaps’ insubordination hurting the team’s morale over the next two seasons.
According to an NBA source, Jackson is concerned about Porzingis’ long-term viability with the organization after blowing off the exit meeting without notification. He regarded it as an act of insubordination.
Jackson and Porzingis will both be free agents in the summer of 2019. Porzingis is a restricted free agent and the Knicks can match any offer. Jackson, or his potential successor, current general manager Steve Mills, would be reluctant to bring Porzingis back if he’s an unhappy Knick.
The worry is this: Porzingis blowing off his exit meeting, then publicizing it to the media 2 ½ months before free agency as a protest to the Knicks’ chaos, could lead to future acts of rebellion that would hurt the franchise’s image to other players.
Oh, that’s rich coming from the guy who pissed off freakin’ LeBron James, not to mention the several other NBA players represented by Maverick Carter, by referring to the agent as LeBron’s “posse.” Phil has spent the last few months trying to publicly shame Carmelo Anthony—a popular figure around the league and a member of the Players’ Association board—into dropping his no-trade clause, but it is Kristaps who is tarnishing the franchise’s image among other players. Also, who exactly has been publicizing this feud? I don’t see Kristaps making statements about Exit-Meetinghazi—this is all coming from Phil and the Knicks.
Berman goes on to posit that, while the Knicks don’t appear ready to trade Kristaps at the moment, they could revisit the trade in a few months if he doesn’t get back in line.
Here we can see the very essence of this franchise—both in the Phil Jackson Era, and even going back to James Dolan taking control at the turn of the century—the supposed “adults” in management positions are far less interested in fixing problems than they are in assigning blame. The 21-year-old player is WRONG, WRONG, WRONG! I, a 71-year-old man, need him to acknowledge how wrong he is, and how right I am! This organization will suffer until I am vindicated!
Somebody around MSG has to grow the fuck up. Perhaps Kristaps didn’t handle the exit interview situation the right way; that being said, he was protesting the Knicks’ incompetence, and they continue to respond to him with more incompetence. This probably won’t end well.