5 Reasons Why Phil Jackson Is Shopping Kristaps Porzingis
His reasoning is some combination of the following...
5) Phil's planting this story just to get other GMs to talk to him. Think about it: why would a team contact the Knicks if Kristaps Porzingis wasn't available? Honestly, they're the island of misfit toys -- by letting the world know that KP is on the block, Phil actually gets to have conversations about trades. If KP was as untouchable as Knicks fans would like him to be, league execs would screen Phil Jackson's calls like they were coming from a mysterious number in Ukraine. Showing his hand the way he has seems suspiciously transparent, as if he wants to make it seems as though the organization is at odds with Porzingis. This is essentially chumming the water for other GMs, who Phil can then ask for an absurd price, watch them go "GTFOH!" and then move on to a different deal involving the Knicks 8th overall pick or Carmelo Anthony. These are conversations that would never happen unless teams though KP was on the table.
4) Phil thinks Porzingis will leave in free agency. This one's a no-brainer. Why would a blossoming star want to waste his prime on the basketball equivalent of Bachelor In Paradise? More pertinently, why would he skip the exit meetings if he was happy? The writing seems to be on the wall about how much patience he has left for New York's most historically pathetic front office, and Phil's making the executive decision to deal his soon-to-be free agent stretch-four for players who will be under contract beyond 2019 (when KP will be a restricted FA). He saw what happened when Oklahoma City Thunder waited for Durant's contract season, so why risk losing his franchise player for nothing when he could trade him while he's healthy and on the up-and-up? Sure, it's the exact reason why you'd want to keep him around -- KP is really good and getting better -- but given how loaded you have to be to compete in the current NBA, there are a bumper crop of teams desperate to upgrade this offseason and Phil's right to see what they're willing to give up for a "unicorn" like Porzingis. The Knicks have been on the wrong end of lopsided trades for years, it'd be nice for once to see them convert one great player into multiple great players for a change.
3) Phil wants out of his contract. The Knicks picked up the final two years on Phil's five-year, $70 million contract back in February, and owner James told Michael Kay in a radio interview that he was committed to see it “all the way to the end.” Sha...right...as if. At some point you have to wonder whether the 71-year-old executive -- who didn't want the job when the Knicks pulled him out of retirement three years ago -- is just trying to force Dolan to pick between the city's most beloved player and their much hated president. He scouts less than any major exec in the league, he doesn't go on road trips and this team is at least five years away from being competitive. Why would someone who clearly does not like his job want to stick around while it gets worse when he could entice his boss into paying him $20 million to go back to California vape hash oil? Publicly beefing with KP seems like the single best way to get fired -- hell, KP might end up going straight to Dolan and asking him to ditch Jackson (he already fired his favorite bench coach) -- and the Knicks are famous for paying NBA legends to prematurely go away (Larry Brown, Lenny Wilkins, etc.). Who doesn't like getting paid for NOT going to work?
2) Phil wants to send a message to Porzingis that he needs to recommit himself to the team if he wants to stay in New York. By coming out and telling the world that he was butthurt over KP's decision to skip exit meetings, Phil put the ball in Porzingis' court, so now he has to either A) demand a trade, B) clap back, or C) come running back with his tail between his legs. Given Jackson's history of subjugating his players through public scrutiny, I assume this kind of mind game is definitely a part of Phil's plan here. Let KP know who the boss is, much in the same way he flexed on Kobe when he came back to coach the Lakers in the late 2000s.
1) Phil thinks this is the best way to improve the Knicks. Lets face it: free agents don't want to come to this medical waste dumpster fire. So how can the Knicks get better? Trades and draft picks. Realistically speaking, dishing Porzingis -- the steal of the 2014 draft -- for a few starters and a some top picks might be the only way Phil Jackson can build a roster capable of making the playoffs.
If Boston deals for Porzingis, I would expect Crowder and Smart in there to help clear max slot under even lower $99m cap.
— Jared Weiss (@JaredWeissNBA) June 22, 2017
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