In his first season as Knicks head coach, David Fizdale spoke glowingly of a future in which he would coach the team’s now-former star Kristaps Porzingis. After Thursday’s trade that sent the Latvian to the Mavericks, Fizdale will not get that opportunity.
Speaking to reporters, including Marc Berman of the New York Post, about the organization’s decision to trade Porzingis, Fizdale praised their personal relationship but was on board with management’s decision.
“This is what the situation called for,’’ Fizdale said. “I never got to coach him. I was excited to coach him. We had a really good relationship, but he had to make a decision and he felt that it was best that he get a fresh start. You never want to see a player go. But where we are I’m excited about our future.
“I wouldn’t say [things were] not right. I never felt that. But like Scott [Perry] and Steve [Mills] said [Thursday] night, we felt like over a short amount of time we started to feel some distance and some indicators that we felt like we had to clear up some things to get clarity and that’s why they met.”
In dealing Porzingis, the Knicks acquired an asset in Dennis Smith Jr., two future first-round picks and cap space that could net them two max free agents this summer.
Check out more notes surrounding the Knicks:
- With Smith in New York, The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor looked back at the 2017 NBA Draft in which the point guard was drafted. Some members of the Knicks’ front office were said to be infatuated with Smith, but New York ultimately drafted teenage Frenchman Frank Ntilikina one spot earlier. However, now the organization has both players and can look to see if Smith’s upside supersedes Ntilikina’s — which was the consensus in 2017.
- In addition to Smith, draft picks and cap space, the Knicks acquired the expiring contracts of DeAndre Jordan and Wesley Matthews. New York has heard from at least one team interested in trading for Matthews, ESPN’s Ian Begley tweets. However, if no trade is found, both Matthews and Jordan — impending free agents — are buyout candidates.
- The widespread coverage of the Porzingis trade has yielded varying opinions on the Knicks’ future. Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated writes that the deal comes with a huge risk but a potentially huge reward if the team can land two elite free agents. Michael Powell of the New York Times opines that Thursday’s trade was the latest sign of organizational incompetence.