The Knicks are “listening” to trade offers for Kristaps Porzingis, team president Phil Jackson confirmed Wednesday night.
Jackson indicated that Porzingis skipping his exit meeting at the end of the season has impacted the team’s decision-making.
“We’re getting calls. As much as we value Kristaps and what he’s done for us, when a guy doesn’t show up at an exit meeting, everybody starts speculating on the duration or his movability from a club,” Jackson said on MSG Network. “So we’ve been getting calls. We’re listening, but we’re not intrigued yet as this level. But as much as we love this guy, we have to do what’s good for our club.”
Jackson was asked specifically what is best for the club, and why he would be considering trading Porzingis, who is still only 21 years old.
“Future. What it brings,” Jackson replied. “Does it bring us two starters and draft pick or something that’s even beyond that? (That’s) something we have to look at as far as going down the road. We know what he is. He’s a unicorn, and he’s special.”
Jackson said he’s “reached out” and called Porzingis since the 7-3 forward returned to his home country of Latvia following the season.
“We’ve communicated, not through voice or anything,” Jackson said.
Jackson said Porzingis skipping the exit meeting “was kind of surprising.”
“I don’t think I’ve ever had a player over 25 years of coaching, maybe 30, not come into an exit meeting,” Jackson said. “So it’s not happened to me. I know it happens to other people and other players. And his brother and his agent have downplayed it. But still it’s a chance for a person to express themselves, and I had a real good relationship with Kristaps over the last two years.”
Jackson’s memory does not serve him well, though. According to an Associated Press story, Shaquille O’Neal skipped his Lakers exit meeting at the end of the 2003 season while Jackson was the coach. Jackson voiced his displeasure with O’Neal’s decision.
“I am upset. It’s disrespectful to us as a staff,” Jackson said then. “It’s closure. It’s adult responsibility to do that.”
At this stage, Knicks fans are rightfully concerned about the direction of the franchise. And Jackson did little to sure that up Wednesday night.
“I think we know what we’re doing. That’s all I can say to them,” he said when asked to address the fans. “Although it’s not been apparent in our record the last couple years, we’ve grown from within. We’ve got young players that are on the move up. It takes time to rebuild with youth. And I think they (should) have confidence in the fact that we’re going to have good players, we’re going to have a good team and we’re going to be on the court competitive.”