With hours to go until the start of the 2017 NBA Draft, Kristaps Porzingis’ name has come up on the trade block for the New York Knicks. That noise is mostly due to Phil Jackson.
With Porzingis skipping his exit interview with the Knicks at the end of the season with Jackson, rumors have begun to heat up. The word from Porzingis’ camp is that he is extremely unhappy with the direction of the Knicks. But despite being unhappy, he wants to remain with the team.
This past week, the 11-time NBA Finals winning head coach now turned executive said that he would consider dealing Porzingis if it made the Knicks better. Reports have also said that the Knicks have gotten several calls from teams inquiring on a deal for Kristaps Porzingis.
But a trade doesn’t seem likely because the price tag is considered very high. Even with the price tag, whispers have said that the Boston Celtics and Oklahoma City Thunder are two possible teams who have called asking on the Latvian star.
With Carmelo Anthony entering the fourth year of a five-year deal, he’s getting closer towards the end of his career and tenure with the Knicks. While he’s the Knicks best player, Kristaps Porzingis is the future of the franchise and the guy the Knicks need to be building around.
In the 2017 NBA Draft, the Knicks own the number eight pick in the first round and should make a draft pick to help develop Porzingis into the star. Yet, if they trade Porzingis on the night of the draft, it’s Jackson admitting that he’s starting all over again. It would be Jackson setting the Knicks back even further than they currently are.
And with that, he will have done the Knicks franchise an incredible disservice and the Knicks loyal fan base an even bigger disservice. If Phil Jackson actually pulls the trigger on a trade to send away Porzingis, then Jackson needs to resign as the team president.
From day one, Phil Jackson has been in this gig half-hearted. At times, he’s unavailable and nowhere to be found when he should be needed. When Phil Jackson stepped away from coaching almost seven years ago, he was doing so for health reasons and to get away from basketball.
Jackson initially didn’t want to come back to the NBA. But James Dolan gave him $12 million a season over five years to come back to the NBA and to the Knicks. But Phil Jackson hasn’t exactly been the best thing for the Knicks since taking over as the president. With Phil Jackson running things, he’s been through three head coaches and won no more than 32 games in a season. After spending a ton of money in free agency for Joakim Noah and Courtney Lee, plus trading for Derrick Rose, the Knicks went just 31-51 this past year.
It’s not working with Phil Jackson here. But he still has two years left to try and make things right in New York. Trading away Kristaps Porzingis would be the worst move of his basketball executive career, as Porzingis is a rising star who is only getting better and will continue to do so with proper development.
Giving up on him too soon would be a crushing blow for the Knicks. And if Jackson were to make that trade, Phil Jackson should do the Knicks a favor and step away as the team president for good and let someone else run things.