PHIL Jackson and Kristaps Porzingis haven’t seen eye-to-eye lately.
The young New York Knicks big man skipped his exit interview when the team’s season came to a close, and reports on Tuesday indicated the team was listening to potential trade offers for the former No.4 overall pick.
On Wednesday evening, Jackson removed any doubt about New York’s intentions. In a televised interview on the MSG Network, the Knicks president of basketball operations acknowledged he is open to offers for Porzingis.
“As much as we love this guy, we have to do what’s best for the club,” Jackson told MSG’s Al Trautwig before doubling down on his belief it might be time for Carmelo Anthony to waive his no-trade clause, as well.
Jackson followed up those two bombshells by trying to reassure Knicks fans. When asked what message he would deliver to the New York faithful, Jackson responded, “I think we know what we’re doing.”
Jackson emphasised how surprised he was by Porzingis’ decision to skip his exit interview this season, saying “I don’t think I’ve ever had a player, over 25 years of coaching, maybe 30, not come to an exit meeting. It’s not happened to me.”
Although Jackson told Trautwig the Knicks are fielding offers for Porzingis, Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports New York is in fact making calls about potential trades and not just listening to offers from other teams.
According to Wojnarowski, the Knicks are looking for a top-four pick in this year’s draft, likely to select Kansas’ Josh Jackson, plus an established starter if they’re going to move Porzingis.
Perhaps Jackson has his reasons for his willingness to trade Porzingis, but we should point out his memory is a bit faulty here. Back in 2003, Shaquille O’Neal skipped his exit interview with the Lakers, meaning at least one player in Jackson’s history has pulled the same kind of move Porzingis did this year.
FEUDING LAKERS HEADING FOR EXIT
The season Nick Young and D’Angelo Russell endured together, after an off-season scandal that threatened to destroy their friendship, didn’t matter in the long run.
In just over 24 hours, the one-time Lakers teammates have gone their separate ways, with Russell headed to the Nets after a blockbuster trade on Tuesday and Young opting to test free agency.
The 32-year-old Young will become an unrestricted free agent this summer after declining his $US5.66 million contract option for next season with the Lakers, the team announced Wednesday.
Young has spent four tumultuous seasons with the Lakers, averaging 13.1 points and 2.3 rebounds over 220 games. The Los Angeles native realised a childhood dream by joining the Lakers, but the 10-year NBA veteran’s tenure has coincided with the worst four-year stretch in the 16-time NBA champions’ history.
Turmoil followed Young off the court, too, where he became a tabloid favourite last summer for his scandalous breakup with rapper Iggy Azalea. The celebrity called off their engagement after she learned Young had cheated on her with ex-girlfriend Keonna Green. Young’s confession leaked when Russell recorded his teammate admitting to the affair and made the footage public in July.
A month later, Young said he was working to forgive Russell because he couldn’t “be mad forever.” Russell echoed that sentiment, saying he was seeking to earn back his teammates’ trust because “that’s something you need for a winning team.”
The Lakers sputtered to a 25-56 record last season before acting fast to rebuild this off-season. In addition to the No. 2 pick in Thursday night’s draft, the Lakers received Brook Lopez and the 27th pick in the trade with the Nets, who got Russell, 21, and Timofey Mozgov in return.
Young, who has bounced around since the Wizards drafted him No. 16 overall in the 2007 draft, will look for more consistency with his new team. He enjoyed a career revival last season under new coach Luke Walton, averaging 13.2 points while hitting 40.4 per cent of his 3-pointers.
WIZARDS TRADE AWAY FINAL DRAFT PICK
The Washington Wizards have acquired point guard Tim Frazier from the New Orleans Pelicans for a second-round pick in the NBA draft.
Wednesday’s deal gives the Pelicans the No.52 overall selection Thursday night. That was the only pick Washington had this year.
Its first-rounder went to Brooklyn in the Bojan Bogdanovic deal at the trade deadline. The 6-foot-1, 170-pound Frazier has averaged 6.2 points, 4.4 assists and 2.4 rebounds in three NBA seasons with New Orleans, Philadelphia and Portland. He has played in 127 regular-season games, making 40 starts.
Last season, he averaged 7.1 points and 5.2 assists for the Pelicans in 65 games, including 35 starts.
With Washington, Frazier could be the primary backup to All-Star point guard John Wall.