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Knicks Rumors: Porzingis 'Reluctant' to Do Sign-and-Trade in Anthony Davis Deal

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJanuary 31, 2019

New York Knicks' Kristaps Porzingis, right, talks with Charlotte Hornets' Willy Hernangomez after the NBA basketball game, Sunday, Dec. 9, 2018, in New York. The Hornets defeated the Knicks 119-107. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Seth Wenig/Associated Press

Kristaps Porzingis appears to have no interest in succeeding Anthony Davis as the face of the New Orleans Pelicans franchise.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe reported Thursday that Porzingis would be "reluctant" to agree to any sign-and-trade that sends him to New Orleans this summer for Davis. Porzingis is set to become a restricted free agent and would have to agree to a sign-and-trade, which greatly complicates New York's potential trade packages.  

The Knicks are among the teams expected to be aggressive in pursuing a Davis trade, but their two biggest assets have complications. They won't know their draft position until after the lottery, which adds far more uncertainty for the Pelicans ahead of the trade deadline. But since the Knicks could move Porzingis without his consent ahead of the trade deadline (they can't in July), they may be incentivized to act now.

Porzingis has not played this season, as he continues to recover from a torn ACL he suffered this past February. It's unlikely he plays until 2019-20, further complicating his trade value. The Knicks' conservative approach should help Porzingis make a full recovery, but you don't have to look far into the past to find an elite young talent whose career was derailed by an ACL tear (Derrick Rose).

Porzingis has also embraced living in the New York limelight and is arguably the team's most exciting homegrown talent since Patrick Ewing. There's reason for neither the Knicks nor Porzingis to want a divorce.

Davis informed the Pelicans last weekend that he would not sign an extension this summer and wishes to be traded. The team then issued a statement saying it will handle negotiations on its own terms. Thus far, the Pelicans have yet to even answer calls from the Lakers, which is Davis' preferred destination, per Wojnarowski and Lowe.

The Knicks are expected to be a major player in free agency this summer, and trading for Davis could lead to Kevin Durant or Kyrie Irving signing with New York. Shedding some salary, most notably Tim Hardaway Jr.'s contract, would be critical to the Knicks opening up as much cap space as possible.  

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