NBA Rumors: Spurs Have 'Significant Interest' in Kristaps Porzingis

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJanuary 8, 2019

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 San Antonio Spurs reportedly have "significant interest" in New York Knicks power forward Kristaps Porzingis, who's yet to play during the 2018-19 NBA season while recovering from a torn ACL.

On Tuesday, Kevin O'Connor of The Ringer reported a key question is whether the Spurs can create enough cap space for Porzingis, who could receive a max offer sheet of $122.1 million over four years as a restricted free agent in the offseason.

It's unclear whether the 23-year-old star will play at all this season, since the the Knicks are already fading from playoff contention with a 10-30 record. The extended absence likely won't deter interested teams from signing him as a restricted free agent because of his strong track record, though.

Porzingis averaged 22.7 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.4 blocks while shooting 39.5 percent from three-point range across 48 appearances last season before he suffered the serious knee injury. He earned his first All-Star selection in the process.

In April 2017, he told Sporta Avize in his native Latvia (via Marc Berman of the New York Post) he wanted to spend his entire career in NYC.

"Absolutely, I want to stay here all my career," Porzingis said. "But the thing I want most of all is winning. When the time comes, I will seriously start to think about it. Right now I just try to do my best."

Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News reported last week the Knicks may attempt to re-sign Porzingis at below max value with injury protections. He noted it would be a deal similar to what Joel Embiid agreed to with the Philadelphia 76ers.

Porzingis may not be willing to accept such a pact, however, and the Brooklyn Nets are another team with potential offer-sheet interest, per Bondy.

If the Spurs make a serious run at the Knicks cornerstone, the next question is whether they'd try to create a frontcourt with LaMarcus Aldridge or trade the fellow power forward, who signed a two-year contract extension through the 2020-21 campaign, to free up cap space.