Knicks Rumors: NY 'Thrilled' by David Fizdale's Visit with Kristaps Porzingis

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJuly 30, 2018

New York Knicks' Kristaps Porzingis (6) waves to fans before an NBA basketball game against the Dallas Mavericks Tuesday, March 13, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

The New York Knicks are reportedly happy with how head coach David Fizdale's meeting went with superstar Kristaps Porzingis in Latvia, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post.

"It was important for Coach Fizdale to spend time with Kristaps and his family," an NBA source told Berman. "It was an opportunity for both the coach and player to get to know each other on a more personal level and also talk basketball. It's part of establishing the type of culture and interaction necessary to building a strong foundation for this team in both the short and longer term."

Porzingis has been rehabbing his torn ACL in Europe, and Fizdale has tried to keep his young superstar abreast of the team's offseason wheelings and dealings.

"We've had some really good conversations," he said. "We talked about the kids we drafted [Kevin Knox and Mitchell Robinson]. I've tried to make sure that he's—we've been in communication on every decision that we've made."

Regaining Porzingis' trust in the organization is perhaps Fizdale's most pressing goal in his new job. Things deteriorated in 2017, when former president of basketball operations Phil Jackson publicly entertained the notion of trading The Unicorn.

That eventually was the last straw for Jackson in New York. But the organization has made more subtle mistakes in its relationship with Porzingis, as Stein wrote:

"In a move that likely is regretted, neither former coach Jeff Hornacek, [team president Steve] Mills nor [general manager Scott] Perry visited Porzingis in Europe last offseason—not even to watch a game of the European Championships. Since getting hired, Fizdale has bowled over his bosses with his ability to connect with the young players, according to sources."

It's unclear when Porzingis will return this season, with sometime in the winter a realistic expectation. Without Porzingis, the Knicks aren't a playoff team. But with him—and with cap space heading into the summer of 2019, when a number of high-profile free agents will be available—the future is still bright in New York.

But making sure that Porzingis—who can become a restricted free agent after this season— wants his own future to stay in Madison Square Garden remains the team's top priority.