In Quest to Drive Knicks Fans Crazy, Phil Jackson Taking Calls On Kristaps

After saying earlier this offseason that Carmelo Anthony would be better off playing elsewhere, Phil Jackson is now reportedly willing to trade Kristaps Porzingis.

by Sean Newell
Jun 20 2017, 4:44pm

© Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Previously in Knicksdom, team president Phil Jackson told his star player Carmelo Anthony to kick rocks, then proceeded to piss off budding star Kristaps Porzingis so much so that the Latvian youngster skipped out on his exit interview at the end of the season as he has grown increasingly concerned over the "dysfunction" in the organization. And that was before they got boned in the NBA Draft Lottery.

Now word is starting to trickle out that the Knicks are taking calls from other teams on Kristaps and haven't even talked to him since he skipped that exit interview way back in mid-April.

Jackson was able to draft Porzingis with the fourth overall pick after his first full season as president thanks to an abysmal 2014-2015 campaign under first-time head coach Derek Fisher, which ended in a 17-65 record. The team greatly improved the following year thanks to the surprise bright spot Porzingis turned out to be, but still finished well below .500 and 13th in the Eastern Conference. Still trying to run the triangle, this time with Derrick Rose at the point, the Knicks this season took a step back and finished 31-51 last season, good enough for 12th in the conference.

The two things Jackson has gotten right—re-signing Melo in 2014 and drafting Porzingis the following summer—are the two things he appears willing to burn to the ground. Nevertheless, Porzingis remains faithful to the city and the fans, if not his boss. Speaking with ESPN, Porzingis's brother, who also works for his agent, said he's going to make the best of it.

"Despite how the Knicks are treating their players, Kris wants to stay in New York," Janis Porzingis said. "He loves the city and he loves the fans and he wants to win with this team. if he's going to be traded , he's going to play out his contact and decide his future on his own."

Janis's words echo those from Carmelo's camp early this year (before Phil started bashing him): "Nothing has changed. He wants to stay in New York and win in New York."

So here is the situation Phil Jackson has left the Knicks: there are two star players who want to win in New York. One is an aging superstar, with a no-trade clause, the other is a rising star with no such clause. He has pissed them both off, but only Melo has the power to resist him.

This is totally going to end with Kristaps being traded, and Melo playing out the string on an even shittier version of this team.