David Fizdale 'Definitely Tried' to Convince Kristaps Porzingis to Stay With Knicks

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVMay 18, 2021

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 24:  Head Coach David Fizdale of the New York Knicks looks on against the Brooklyn Nets at Madison Square Garden on November 24, 2019 in New York City.Brooklyn Nets defeated the New York Knicks 103-101. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Mike Stobe/Getty Images

David Fizdale made what proved to be a futile effort to convince Kristaps Porzingis to stick around with the New York Knicks when the Latvian big man became disgruntled in 2019.

"I definitely tried to do everything I could to convince (Porzingis) to want to be there," Fizdale said on The Athletic's Shattered: Hope, Heartbreak and the New York Knicks podcast series. "But ultimately, I also understand...people are at a place where they just feel like they need a change and need different scenery to kind of reboot themselves. So did it hurt? Absolutely. It was a blow to the gut."

Fizdale was midway through his first season as head coach of the Knicks when they traded Porzingis to the Dallas Mavericks in January 2019.

At the time, it was a somewhat puzzling move that only appeared worse after seeing how the 2019 offseason unfolded.

While a trade might have been inevitable given how badly Porzingis' relationship with the Knicks deteriorated, it also helped cleared cap space for marquee free agents such as Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. When Durant and Irving signed with the Brooklyn Nets, the Knicks effectively came away with little in return for a player who was once positioned as the franchise cornerstone.

If the organization could have a do-over, it would probably ensure things never reached a point to where Porzingis wanted out at all.

However, the trade may not be an unmitigated disaster for the Knicks. 

Julius Randle's All-Star season in 2020-21 might not have happened if he was sharing a frontcourt with the 7'3" center. The Mavericks also owe the Knicks first-round picks in 2021 and 2023 that could provide reinforcements.

The 21-win campaign in 2019-20 without Porzingis also paved the way for Leon Rose to arrive as team president. The franchise was left with little other choice but to start over again, which among other things meant focusing on the development of young guards RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley. 

Now that the Knicks have secured their first playoff berth since the 2012-13 season, they could become an attractive destination for marquee free agents or stars angling for trades. That was how the Nets eventually landed Durant and Irving before acquiring James Harden.

As much as the Porzingis situation might still sting for some Knicks fans, it's quickly becoming a footnote.