The Uncertain Future of Kristaps Porzingis
Kristaps Porzingis is the shining light on a franchise that has been run on disorder for years. Being run without an identity and failing to compete for the the better part of 15 years. Knicks fans have had to put up with a lot, but the draft pick of Porzingis seemed to be a turning point for a better, brighter future.
Or so we thought.
Porzingis was asked the other day by the New York Daily News if he still wants to see changes before signing on with the Knicks long-term. “Yeah. . . yeah. That’s it,” Porzingis answered. Clearly hesitant to throw too much shade towards the organization, but it should be concerning to Knicks fans nonetheless.
It is great to live in denial and think that Porzingis would be loyal to the Knicks, because this is New York and the fans love him. Well, the love from fans is one thing, but the love from the organization is another.
After this season, Porzingis is eligible to sign a rookie scale contract, which is maxed at five years, $148 million. If that number sounds familiar, it is because Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid recently signed those deals this offseason. And I’m sure the front office is looking at Porzingis and would give him that contract in a heartbeat.
But if you’re Porzingis, do you want to commit to a franchise for five years that has only made the playoffs once in the past five season and over the last three seasons have a total record that is 86 games under .500? And in that time hired Phil Jackson, who single-handedly sabotaged the potential worth of Carmelo Anthony? The concerns are right there at the forefront for the young Latvian.
But let’s talk about the positives of this scenario for a bit. It is encouraging that Porzingis is actually interested in being a part of a successful club. Young players in sports across the world would jump at any opportunity to nab a giant contract, without caring too much about how the club is being run. Have the 76ers done anything to warrant Embiid that huge extension? Or what about Anthony Davis a few years back? The Pelicans are barely ahead of the Knicks in organizational competency.
Ultimately, this honesty by a team’s young star should be welcomed. He is not hiding his concerns to one day spurn the Knicks and go sign with a contending club. He made it known that he isn’t going to give the Knicks a free-ride at a contract extension. Now it is up to the Knicks to not do Knicks things and mess this up.
Which brings us to the recent news concerning Eric Bledsoe, who wants off the Phoenix Suns and it is being reported that they reached out to the Knicks. I like Bledsoe, who has been great for the Suns the past two seasons. But bringing him in would be a foolish. He is not a long-term answer for the Knicks at point guard and just this past offseason they drafted Frank Ntilikina in the first round. Maybe he is not the long-term answer either, but trading him before he even has a chance to show what he’s got would be yet another classic Knicks move.
There might not be a more “win now” city than New York. The scrutiny sports teams receive can be downright vicious and cruel. However, many fans also understand the rebuilding process does not happen overnight. It takes a few years to bring in the players you want and develop the talent you have. As long as the Knicks stay on track and build a cohesive team, then you will buy some good will from the fans, and possibly keep Porzingis in the process.