Kristaps Porzingis looks like a star in the making, but the New York Knicks were apparently seriously considering trading the young forward this past offseason.
"Jackson and the Knicks then discussed potential trades of Porzingis with several teams in the days and weeks leading up to the NBA draft. Those conversations were painted in some corners as Jackson teaching Porzingis a lesson after the skipped exit meeting, but multiple sources familiar with the matter say that there were members of the organization in favor of trading Porzingis at the time."
Porzingis remained with the team, but Phil Jackson was eventually removed from his position as team president.
Skipping the meeting was initially described as being due to the "dysfunction and drama surrounding the organization," although Peter Vecsey of Patreon reported it was after an argument with head coach Jeff Hornacek.
Regardless of the reasoning, the team clearly took it seriously as Jackson described the trade talks in June.
"We’re getting calls," Jackson said, per Marc Berman and Ryan Lazo of the New York Post. "You know as much as we value Kristaps and what he’s done for us, but when a guy doesn’t show up to an exit meeting, everyone starts speculating on his duration or movability from a club."
Jackson and the Knicks parted ways about a week later.
New York traded away Carmelo Anthony but kept Porzingis as a centerpiece to build around. He has made it count with an average of 25.5 points per game this season, eighth most in the NBA. He is also currently setting career highs in field-goal percentage (46.5 percent), three-point shooting (39.5 percent) and blocks per game (2.1).
With a 16-14 record, the Knicks are also more than halfway toward their win total from last season.
While it is still early in his career, it appears holding onto the forward was a smart decision from the organization.