Jeff Hornacek RumorsAll NBA Players
There is also the matter of reports, including several from the Daily News that Porzingis’ relationship with Jeff Hornacek is on thin ice. Porzingis, who spoke to The News after he was spotted at a midtown eatery Sunday afternoon, declined to address the circumstances behind blowing off his end of the season meeting with Jackson, Hornacek and Steve Mills. The 22-year-old forward would only say, “Honestly, I would love for this year to be a new start. All I’m looking for is a fresh start and not to talk about that anymore.”
Porzingis, however, does stand by his decision to return to Latvia and workout on his own. “It was important that I disconnected from everything,” he added. “I was working on my game and resting my mind. I kept working hard this summer to put myself in this position. I’m coming in with a fresh mind. I don’t want to carry anything from the previous season.”
Q: Is Kristaps Porzingis ready to be “The Man”? Hornacek: I think back at Kobe Bryant, and we played them in the playoffs, and big part of the game, and he must have been a rookie, and he came down and took two shots from the elbow, kind of turnaround, typical Kobe Bryant, but he was young. He shot two air balls, and we win the game. But from that point on, you said: “OK, that kid’s gonna be good,” because he had no qualms about taking that shot. And that’s the development that KP is probably ready to go into, and to be that. I would never put that on a guy at this point to say, “Hey, you’re ‘The Guy.’ ” But you want him to have opportunities to grow into that.
Q: There were rumors the 76ers were trading you to the Knicks before you ended up in Utah [in 1994]. You would have welcomed that at that time? Hornacek: Oh, absolutely. That’s what I try to explain to our players here, is that there’s nothing like playing in Madison Square Garden. So every time you go out there, you gotta remember the other team is jacked up to play. You got all the celebrities in the front rows, it’s the iconic arena in the league, that it’s a different atmosphere when these guys come to play, and then you gotta know that as a player. So I think about all the times I came here as a visitor, and I played out in the West most of the time, so it was only once a year. But I think we were pretty successful when we came here in our game (laugh). Coming here as a coach, and to be a part of that, but to also understand that it’s been a while since they’ve really won, and we’re just trying to get that excitement back and getting the city behind us again, and we think we can get there.
“KP and I have a good relationship,” Hornacek said. “I’m not going to comment on any reports that say otherwise. We texted with him all summer. We followed him through Euro basket. We’re very happy with his conditioning, the way he played out there, the way he took on the role of leader for that Latvian team. I think he’s excited to get back. We’re excited to get back at it.”
Jeff Hornacek isn’t the only member of the Knicks’ hierarchy to attend one of Carmelo Anthony’s New York City pickup games. Knicks president Steve Mills also attended a pickup game earlier this month featuring Anthony and other players at the Lifetime Athletic gym in Manhattan, league sources told ESPN. Mills’ and Hornacek’s attendance at these games is noteworthy because the Knicks have been looking to trade Anthony for months and Anthony, who has a no-trade clause, is open to being moved. New York has been unable to find a suitable deal with Anthony’s preferred destination, the Houston Rockets. It is unknown if Hornacek or Mills had any substantive discussions with Anthony on the day(s) they attended games. For what it’s worth, Mills last month wrote a long blog on a company website about his vision for the future of the club and didn’t mention Anthony.