Knicks star Kristaps Porzingis has had his issues with the team’s front office during his time in New York — even skipping his exit meeting in 2017 due to his frustration with the organization.
That, apparently, is all behind them.
Knicks team president Steve Mills — who replaced Phil Jackson last summer — said on ESPN Radio’s The Stephen A. Smith Show on Thursday that he and general manager Scott Perry “worked really hard” to fix their relationship with Porzingis, and that he doesn’t expect him to seek a trade this offseason.
“We’ve worked really hard in rebuilding the relationship with KP,” Mills said on ESPN Radio. “For Scott and me, it’s been with his brother [Janis Porzingis]. We had to make Janis, who is his agent and his brother, make him feel like he was part of our group and let him understand what we’re doing as a team, where we’re taking this thing.
“We communicate with KP all the time. And we know he feels good about directionally where we’re going. I think you can see that through some of his tweets and social media stuff, and our conversations with him. He’s back on board with where we’re going and we feel really good about his future with us.”
Porzingis has been recovering from an ACL injury, and is currently back home in Latvia. The injury, which he suffered back in February, is expected to sideline him for a large part of the 2018-19 season — though Mills said he would have a “better idea about a timetable” for his return in September, according to ESPN’s Ian Begley.
He is currently eligible for a five-year contract extension worth more than $150 million, too. Though the Knicks can wait until next summer to restructure his contract — something that could help land a big name in free agency next July, which is Mills’ goal.
Even though they’ve struggled for years — having missed the playoffs for five straight seasons — Mills said that it’s Porzingis who will attract a big name.
“We feel like we’re going to put ourselves in a position where stars are going to want to come to us,” Mills said, according to Begley. “That’s what we think.
“Guys want to be a part of a winning culture,” Mills added. “They want to be a part of a group of guys they want to play with. Porzingis is a magnet. He’s the reason why everyone interviewing for coaching jobs this year wanted this job.”
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