Kristaps Porzingis 'Ready for the Challenge' After Carmelo Anthony Trade

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistSeptember 24, 2017

New York Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis (6) in the second half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, Dec. 17, 2016, in Denver. The Nuggets won 127-114. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
David Zalubowski/Associated Press

With Carmelo Anthony gone, Kristaps Porzingis is ready to become the New York Knicks' go-to player.

"I am ready for the challenge," he said Saturday, per Frank Isola of the New York Daily News. "I've been preparing myself for this moment."

The Knicks agreed to send Anthony to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday for Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott and the Chicago Bulls2018 second-round pick, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Porzingis and the remaining Knicks players had plenty of time to prepare for the move, as Anthony was the subject of trade rumors for more than a year. Heading into what could be the final season of his contract, the 10-time All-Star appeared destined to be dealt as soon as the Knicks found a fair deal and he waived his no-trade clause.

Now that he is gone, New York can start its rebuild around Porzingis, Frank Ntilikina and Kanter.

While Porzingis has the talent to be a franchise cornerstone after averaging 18.1 points, 7.2 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game this past season, there are questions about his desire to remain with the organization. After Porzingis skipped his exit meeting at the end of last season, then-team president Phil Jackson considered trading him, per Wojnarowski.

The 22-year-old center also apparently had issues with head coach Jeff Hornacek, according to Isola, although he expressed a desire to put that drama in the past. 

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"Honestly, I would love for this year to be a new start," Porzingis told Isola. "All I'm looking for is a fresh start and not to talk about that anymore."

This season will go a long way toward determining whether Porzingis can be the centerpiece of the Knicks' rebuild.


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