It is the eve of the 2017 NBA Draft and one of the biggest newsmakers is Phil Jackson and his attempts to snag a Top-4 pick in the draft for the New York Knicks. He reportedly dangled Latvian sensation, Kristaps Porzingis in trade talks. This comes as somewhat of a surprising move by the former Chicago Bulls coaching guru. Many pundits and Knicks fans alike were griefing over Porzingis being taken by the Knicks with the fourth pick in the 2015 draft. The talented big man, who was being labeled as “too raw to make an impact,” quickly changed minds with his skill set and maturity on the court.
The Knicks have been a huge disappointment in recent seasons, failing to make the playoffs, after being a ubiquitous mainstay for many years. Pressure has mounted for changes to be made in order for their state of stagnation to change. And while an overnight twist of fate was not expected to be in the cards, the addition of Kristaps to the team appeared to be a step in the right direction.
Jackson reportedly approached the Sacramento Kings and Phoenix Suns but was rebuffed by both clubs. He was allegedly asking for Devin Booker and the fourth pick of the upcoming draft in exchange or Porzingis.
The team is currently weighed down by an underperforming and underwhelming Carmelo Anthony. The ball-dominant forward has refused to waive the no-trade clause in his contract and looks to continue to be a stumbling block in the team’s rebuilding efforts. The team added Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah in 2016, but both injury-prone players ended up missing significant time, once again dowsing New York’s hopes of making a comeback to the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Towards the end of his sophomore season with the franchise, Porzingis began to be more vocal about his unhappiness with his current role with the team. Porzingis missed his exit meeting with the team at the end of the 2016-17 season. It is also all too possible that a rift emerged between his camp and Jackson’s. As things stand, his future with the Knicks could very well be short-lived. Jackson may not have gotten his asking price for the big man, but only time will tell what Phil will settle for in order to move on.
There is a huge number of experienced veteran players hitting free agency in 2017 and 2018, so teams in the market for tried and true assets could be major players as far as the trade market on draft day is concerned.