Knicks president Steve Mills offered some insight into the Kristaps Porzingis trade at a fan forum today, saying the Latvian star provided the team with an ultimatum and was very unlikely to re-sign this summer. Mills’ comments are captured in a video tweeted by #Knockstape of a JPM speaker event that Mills and GM Scott Perry attended.
“When he walked into our office, my office, and Scott was sitting there with me, and point blank said to us, ‘I don’t want to be here, I’m not going to re-sign with the Knicks, and I’ll give you seven days to try and trade me or I’m going back to Europe,’” Mills said.
The threat Porzingis was making was to go to Europe to train, not to play. No EuroLeague team could have signed him while he was under an NBA contract.
Porzingis was traded to the Mavericks in late January along with Tim Hardaway Jr. and Courtney Lee in exchange for Dennis Smith, DeAndre Jordan, Wesley Matthews and two future first-round picks. He will be a restricted free agent this summer, and the Mavs are expected to offer him a max contract.
The trade was shocking when it was announced, but it appears to have been brewing behind the scenes for several months. Mills told the gathering that Knicks management had been taking offers for Porzingis since last September.
Porzingis sat out all of last season while he recovered from a torn ACL. He was reportedly the victim of an attack recently in Latvia.