Kristaps Porzingis Trade Rumors: Knicks Want Top-4 Draft Pick for Star

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJune 22, 2017

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 2:  Kristaps Porzingis #6 of the New York Knicks handles the ball during a game against the Boston Celtics on April 2, 2017 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York.  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. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images

The New York Knicks have actively sought a top-four pick in exchange for Kristaps Porzingis ahead of Thursday's NBA draft.

Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical reported the Knicks are looking to acquire Kansas forward Josh Jackson, who is largely considered the third-best player in this class.

Porzingis, 21, averaged 18.1 points, 7.2 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game in 2016-17. To almost every outside observer, he would seem like the only untouchable on the Knicks roster—a 7-foot, two-way unicorn who stretches the floor, plays defense and thrives in the New York spotlight.

The Knicks apparently have other ideas. Tension has been festering between Porzingis and the organization since the young forward skipped his exit meeting with Phil Jackson to return home to Latvia. Wojnarowski reported Jackson is open to trading Porzingis, something he all but confirmed Wednesday night.

"As much as we love this guy, we have to do what's best for the club," Jackson said, per Al Iannazzone of Newsday.

Porzingis expressed frustration with the Knicks' inconsistency, particularly with their deployment of Jackson's beloved triangle offense.

"It is different," Porzingis told Andrejs Silins of Sportacentrs.com (h/t Marc Berman of the New York Post). "It works if everyone believes in it, if everybody knows where to move and where to go and what to do and reads the situation well. You can't do it with everybody.

"You have to have the right players, have to have players with sharp minds, that can read the game quickly and make the right cut and pass. I haven't really been a part of a really good triangle team. We always had some trouble a bit. We'll see what we do next season."

Trading Porzingis would probably irreparably harm Jackson's already-shaky relationship with Knicks fans. The legendary coach's tenure in New York is circling the drain of failure, and Porzingis is arguably the shining light of the franchise that justifies Jackson's continued employment.

With at least three years of team control remaining, Jackson should be doing everything in his power to fix the organization's relationship with Porzingis rather than ending it prematurely.

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