Kristaps Porzingis, who made a statement about the Knicks organization by skipping his exit interview Friday, plans to spend most of the summer in his native Latvia, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical.
Porzingis’ move was seen as a protest against the “unprofessionalism and routine chaos” that he has encountered during his two seasons with the team, Wojnarowski writes, noting that he may not return to the United States until just before the start of camp.
His stance appears to represent the prevalent feeling in the locker room. Many players are saying privately that they don’t want to be involved in summer tutoring sessions in the triangle offense that are planned at the Knicks’ practice facility. Wojnarowski describes the atmosphere as an “open rebellion” against team president Phil Jackson’s philosophy.
It also appears that Jackson’s statements on Friday urging Carmelo Anthony to accept a trade this summer have backfired. Wojnarowski writes that the Knicks plan to reopen trade talks before the draft in June, but Anthony has become more determined to spend two more years in New York and try to outlast Jackson. With the Knicks picking up Jackson’s option this week, both he and Anthony have two seasons left on their current contracts.
Jackson’s press conference was the latest addition to the chaos that has left Porzingis disillusioned. He developed a good working relationship with coach Derek Fisher as a rookie, Wojnarowski writes, but Fisher was fired midway through last season, partly because of a dispute with Jackson over the triangle and the best way to use Porzingis in the offense.
Jackson appointed Kurt Rambis as interim head coach and wanted to give him the job permanently, but opposition inside and outside the organization forced him to hire someone else. He chose Jeff Hornacek, who had recently been fired by the Suns and had little leverage to oppose the triangle or force out Rambis, who remains as an assistant.