Kristaps Porzingis

Knicks Notes: Noah, Porzingis, Kobe, Livingston

Joakim Noah, who signed a four-year, $72MM deal last offseason, underwent rotator cuff surgery on Wednesday, Al Iannazzone of Newsday relays. Noah was suspended by the league for taking a banned substance at the end of this season. He was able to serve eight of his 20 games since he was deemed healthy enough to play toward the end of the 2016/17 campaign. He’ll serve the remaining 12 games of the suspension once he’s recovered from his left shoulder surgery and ruled healthy enough to play. The Knicks didn’t give a timetable for his return, but coach Jeff Hornacek previously said the rehab process should take approximately five months.

Team president Phil Jackson remains hopeful that Noah can return from his injury and live up to his current contract. “We talked a lot about, ‘Can you get yourself back into this condition? Hamstrings, hamstrings, hamstrings,” Jackson said earlier this month. “‘Eventually it ended up being the knee that was creating ultimately other problems. So we hope going forward – he expresses great dedication in getting back to what he was and who he is as a basketball player. So I have to trust him in that.”

Here’s more from the city that never sleeps:

  • Kristaps Porzingis may be frustrated with the Knicks‘ organization, but that doesn’t extend to assistant coach Joshua Longstaff, according to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. Longstaff will join Porzingis in Latvia this summer and Bondy hears that the big man wants Longstaff to be an assistant coach for the Latvian National Team. New York previously offered to approve Porzingis’ participation in the European Championships if the Latvian team allowed the assistant to be on its staff.
  • Can Jackson and Carmelo Anthony coexist in New York after a season of turmoil? Kobe Bryant believes there’s a chance the two parties can, as Marc Berman of the New York Post relays. Michael [Jordan] had his rough times with him as well. The history is you get through rough times after you win a good amount of championships. We certainly had our rocky times, but we still stuck to it, we figured out our way through it and came out better because of it. I think the most important thing is sticking to it, being patient. Sometimes things work out. Sometimes they don’t,” Bryant said.
  • Shaun Livingston, who will be a free agent this offseason, is a longtime favorite of Phil Jackson and could be a reasonable target for the Knicks to go after this summer, Keith P. Smith of RealGM writes. Smith argues that Livingston would be a good fit in the triangle offense.

Knicks Sending Assistant To Latvian National Team

The Knicks have worked out a compromise with Kristaps Porzingis regarding his desire to represent Latvia in the European Championships, according to international basketball writer David Pick (Twitter links).

New York’s front office offered to approve Porzingis’ participation provided that assistant coach Joshua Longstaff is permitted to join the national team to work with the second-year big man. Longstaff, who has been with the Knicks since 2014, will remain in Latvia throughout the tournament, which runs from August 31st to September 17th.

Porzingis doesn’t need approval from the Knicks to participate in international play, so the move is largely symbolic. Still it’s a change in philosophy from the organization, which previously advised him to skip the competition. Injuries are the main concern as Porzingis missed 16 games this season with a left Achilles issue and back problems.

The Knicks were originally surprised to learn that Porzingis was planning to be part of Eurobasket. He skipped his exit interview with team president Phil Jackson in a protest over the ongoing chaos surrounding the team and has had little contact with the organization since the season ended.

The Latest On Kristaps Porzingis And The Knicks

Kristaps Porzingis wants to remain in New York, but he places winning above location on his list of preferences, as Marc Berman of The New York Post writes. “Absolutely, I want to stay here all my career,’’ Porzingis said. “But the thing I want most of all is winning. When the time comes, I will seriously start to think about it. Right now I just try to do my best.”

The big man was asked if he would consider another franchise when he is eligible for free agency if that organization gave him a better chance to win. He responded by saying it was a possibility, as relays. The 21-year-old has two years remaining on his rookie contract.

Porzingis is currently in Latvia and he’ll remain there for most of the summer. He spent time there last season as well and Mubarak Malik, who is the Knicks’ director of performance, visited the big man to provide him with a training program. Other members of the organization also spent time with Porzingis abroad last summer, but it’s unclear if the team will take the same approach this year, as Ian Begley of reports (ESPN Now link).

The Knicks haven’t spoken to Porzingis since he blew off his exit meeting with Phil Jackson. The big man reportedly was upset with the organizational chaos and that was the reason he stood Jackson up.

Porzingis announced today that he will play for his the Latvian national team in the European championships, something the Knicks had previously recommended him not to do. It appears that he didn’t inform the NBA club of his plans prior to making the announcement. “Kristaps is in a position to decide for himself on playing for the national side,” his brother Janis Porzingis said. By rule, NBA teams are not allowed to dictate participation in international events, according to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. However, many franchises have conversations with its players and make its position known.

One of New York’s concerns with Porzingis playing for his country’s team is the risk of injury. Porzingis’ camp did attempt to alleviate the organization’s concern. “In terms of insurance, we have agreed with the Latvian Basketball Association for the covering of the required amount,” Janis Porzingis said. “I cannot disclose the amount.”

The former No. 4 overall pick promises to report to the Knicks training camp in September, but until then, his focus is on his national team. “My third season is still far away,” He said. “The main thing is to put in a lot of work during the summer to be ready, first for national team, then for next season. The European championships ends before the official NBA camp starts, so I have enough time to turn back to New York. I’ll be there on time.”

Kristaps Porzingis Wants To Remain With Knicks

Kristaps Porzingis blew off an end-of-season meeting with team president Phil Jackson, but that does not mean he wants to be traded, Marc Berman of The New York Post writes.

“Of course,” Porzingis said when asked if he wants to remain a Knick. “I love New York. I love New York.”

The team never received an explanation on why the big man decided to skip his scheduled meeting, a source tells Berman. The scribe hears that Porzingis is upset with how the organization has been run–especially the team’s dealings with his mentor, Carmelo Anthony. The 21-year-old declined to go into why he missed the meeting when asked on Wednesday.

“It’s not the right moment to comment on anything [about it],” he said. “I don’t want to say anything.’’

Last week, Porzingis said that he wants the franchise to have a clear direction. “No one’s comfortable with losing,” Porzingis said. “If it means going in the right direction and doing the right thing, let’s do that. But just having no idea the direction, then it’s not going to work out. The direction has to be clear what we want to do.”

During Jackson’s Good Friday press conference, he said that no one on the team is untouchable, which includes Porzingis. Berman notes that the Knicks will be hard-pressed to find equal value for the big man in a trade, adding the 21-year-old has a chance to become a star.

A source tells Berman that Jackson doesn’t feel good about Porzingis rebelling. “It wasn’t right,” said one individual close to Jackson. “But Phil went through this with Kobe [Bryant] and Andrew [Bynum], when they were still young but started to sprout their opinions and rebelled. It worked for Kobe. Hopefully this will make Kristaps better in the long run.”

Porzingis vows to “live in the gym” this summer, though he’ll spend most of it abroad. He leaves for Latvia on Thursday.

Porzingis To Spend Summer In Latvia; Anthony May Resist Trade

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.

Kristaps Porzingis Reportedly Skipped Exit Meetings

The Knicks‘ season may be over, but the team’s PR struggles continued with Phil Jackson‘s press conference this afternoon. Following an unusual presser, in which Jackson asserted Carmelo Anthony would “be better off somewhere else,” Ian Begley of ESPN reported frustration from Kristaps Porzingis. Per Begley, Porzingis skipped exit meetings with the Knicks following this season, citing what he perceived to be “dysfunction and drama surrounding the organization.”

“Porzingis, according to team sources, is frustrated with the Knicks’ lack of direction,” Begley reports. Jackson’s remarks at Friday’s press conference involved Porzingis as well as Anthony; claiming the 21-year-old is not ready ot become the face of the franchise (Twitter link).

In the past, Porzingis hasn’t shied away from criticizing team management. At the end of March, Porzingis told Fred Kerber of the New York Post that his team didn’t do it from the beginning the right way…We didn’t have real fundamentals as a team.”

For what it’s worth, Jackson acknowledged the volatile reputation the Knicks have gathered in recent years.

“I think there’s disconnect sometimes with this team and I think there was some rebelliousness with this team that created some of the discord during the year. And I think has to stop and that will stop,” Jackson said.

New York Notes: Porzingis, Atkinson, Dinwiddie

Kristaps Porzingis says Achilles tendinitis is responsible for a disappointing season, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post. The second-year big man began having Achilles pain at Christmas, and it has affected him ever since. “I was out there playing at a high level,” he said. “Then the injuries, little things [that] happened got me out of my rhythm. Then it was kind of on and off, some games good, some games not so good. I was trying to find that rhythm for a long time. Then the second part of the season, it was just a big fight for us and mentally tough. I think I grew from this season.’’

Porzingis has missed three straight games with back spasms and may not play again this season. Coach Jeff Hornacek said this week that he plans to be “careful” with how he uses the 21-year-old. If his season is over, Porzingis will finish with 66 games, six fewer than last year, while averaging 18.1 points and 7.2 rebounds per night.

There’s more tonight out of New York:

  • Porzingis should be prepared to inherit Carmelo Anthony‘s role as go-to guy next season, writes Al Iannazzone of Newsday. The Knicks are expected to make a concerted effort to trade Anthony this summer, and Porzingis seems like his logical successor. Iannazzone notes that Anthony and Derrick Rose dominated the ball this season, but both could be gone this summer.
  • First-year coach Kenny Atkinson offered gratitude and a promise to Nets fans after the team concluded its home schedule today, relays Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Brooklyn picked up its 20th win by rallying to play spoiler against the Bulls. “The crowd’s been outstanding considering we haven’t had a ton of wins and not fighting for a playoff spot,’’ Atkinson said. “The support’s been great. We understand we have to take another step next year, and they should demand that. That’s on us to get better this offseason.”
  • One of the players who helped pin the costly loss on the Bulls was point guard Spencer Dinwiddie, who was waived by Chicago in the preseason, notes Vincent Goodwill of CSNChicago. Dinwiddie scored Brooklyn’s final seven points of the game as the Nets erased a nine-point fourth quarter deficit. Dinwiddie came to the Bulls in a trade with the Pistons last June, but he was waived in July, then re-signed and was cut again in October. He signed with the Nets in early December.

New York Notes: Porzingis, Dolan, Nets, Bogdanovic

With just three games left in the season and his team long eliminated from playoff contention, head coach Jeff Hornacek said late on Thursday night that the Knicks will be “careful” with Kristaps Porzingis down the stretch this season. As Ian Begley of tweets, Porzingis – who has missed the club’s last two games with back spams – may ultimately sit out those final three games as well and focus on getting healthy for the summer.

As we wait to see how the Knicks proceed with Porzingis, let’s round up a few more notes on the league’s two New York teams…

  • In the wake of a report that Knicks owner James Dolan confronted and yelled at a fan who told him to sell the franchise, Frank Isola of The New York Daily News and Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post take Dolan to task. Isola suggests that the Knicks owner ought to focus more on ways to improve his struggling team rather than protecting his own image, while Bontemps argues that Dolan hasn’t learned a thing since he assumed ownership of the team in 1999.
  • A year after aggressively pursuing – and striking out on – multiple restricted free agents, the Nets are expected to be in the RFA market again. With that in mind, could Brooklyn target Bojan Bogdanovic just a few months after sending him to Washington? Brian Lewis of The New York Post explores that subject and gets some quotes from a noncommittal Bogdanovic, who says he remains focused on basketball for now.
  • Tommy Beer of Basketball Insiders makes the case that, if they want to move forward as a franchise, the Knicks need to ditch the triangle and adopt a more modern offensive system.
  • Earlier today, we passed along Brandon Jennings‘ comments on how this year’s Carmelo Anthony trade rumors took a toll on the Knicks.

New York Notes: Porzingis, Henangomez, Draft

Kristaps Porzingis will talk to Knicks management before deciding whether to play in the European Championships, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post. Porzingis, one of three Knicks who may be involved in the tournament, said he is undecided about whether he wants to represent Latvia. He didn’t participate in the nation’s Olympic qualifier last summer.

Teammates Willy Hernangomez of Spain and Mindaugas Kuzminskas of Lithuania both plan to be part of the competition. The event starts in August and runs through mid-September, close to the start of training camp, but Hernangomez doesn’t believe the Knicks will object. “They let me play in the Olympics, and the European Championships is almost as important to us,” he said.

There’s more this morning out of New York:

  • Porzingis and Hernangomez are part of a core of promising young talent that gives the Knicks hope for the future, writes Frank Isola of The New York Daily News. That group also includes Ron BakerChasson Randle and Marshall Plumlee. “We’ve seen improvement with all of them,” said coach Jeff Hornacek. “A lot of that is offensive player development. We’ve got to get these guys on the defensive side of it. That’s an attitude you have to develop as a young player.” Isola adds that team president Phil Jackson made a mistake last summer by bringing in Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and Courtney Lee rather than committing to rebuilding around younger players.
  • The Nets are focused on providing a positive finish to a miserable season, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. They still have the league’s worst record at 17-59, but Saturday’s win over Orlando makes them 8-12 since the All-Star break. Brooklyn is four games away from the Lakers in our latest Reverse Standings with six left to play. “We definitely want to finish the season strong,” Trevor Booker said. “It’ll give us something to build off of over the summer going into next season.”
  • The Nets have a rooting interest in the Pacers missing the playoffs, notes Indiana’s second-round pick will go to Brooklyn if it falls between 31 and 44. The Pacers are currently in a three-way tie for seventh with the Bulls and Heat at 37-39. The Nets are assured of having the Wizards’ first-rounder (currently No. 23) and the Celtics’ (No. 27), along with Boston’s second-rounder (No. 57). They also have $3.425MM available to purchase another pick.

Knicks Notes: Rose, Anthony, Hornacek, Porzingis

Following brash remarks from Derrick Rose, the Knicks announced Carmelo Anthony (sore lower back), Lance Thomas (hip), and Rose would sit out tonight’s game against the Heat. Leading into Friday’s road match-up, D-Rose described the Knicks as a superior team to Miami.

“We’re more talented,” Rose told Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. “It shows basketball is a team sport. Any year in the league is about whoever catches a rhythm. No matter how your season is going… you can always catch a rhythm, they caught theirs at the right time, winning [13 in a row]. They have been playing great basketball ever since then. So we never caught that luck this year.”

More from The Mecca…

  • Jeff Hornacek sung a different tune than Rose, saying the Knicks have much to learn from Erik Spoelstra‘s Heat. “Use Miami as an example,’’ Hornacek told Marc Berman of the New York Post. “It’s old-school basketball. Bump and grab, and the referees are not going to call all of those. As long as they stay that aggressiveness all game long, they get away with those things. They have good stretches – get five, six, seven stops in a row and take the lead on you.’’
  • Kristaps Porzingis discussed the Knicks’ shortcomings in 2016/17, citing “consistency” as a major issue for the team. “We didn’t do it from the beginning the right way,” Porzingis told Fred Kerber of the New York Post“We didn’t have real fundamentals as a team and I think from the beginning it worked for us because we played based off our talent and based off good energy. Once things got a little tougher, we just didn’t have the fundamentals as a team.” Porzingis went on to say he had the team tabbed for a “six, seven, eight seed” finish.
  • Scottie Pippen aimed pointed criticism at Phil Jackson, saying his former coach should be pushed out of his job. “I just think he [Jackson] hasn’t put the right pieces on the floor,” Pippen said on ESPN program The Jump. “I give a lot of credit to Carmelo, who has been very professional in getting through this 82-game season, and now he’s being benched to some degree, they’ve taken a lot of his minutes away. This team really just hasn’t had it. They haven’t had it since Phil Jackson landed there. I’m sure the fans will love to see Carmelo in New York and Phil out.”
  • Stefan Bondy of the Daily News outlined ‘Melo’s dilemma: being too young for a mentor role, yet too old to be on a tanking team. “Anthony is only 32 years old, too young to serve as a mentor player/coach to the likes of Ron Baker, Maurice Ndour and Chasson Randle,” Bondy writes. “He knows that. There’s too much basketball left in his legs to take on a reduced role for the sake of a rebuild — for more losing and better lottery odds. To use Anthony’s words from Wednesday, “I see the writing on the wall.”
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