Draft Rumors

Porzingis was there at No. 4, though not without some drama. The Boston Celtics were hell-bent on moving up to draft Justise Winslow and offered the Charlotte Hornets four first-round picks — including one of Brooklyn’s unprotected picks — for Charlotte’s No. 9 pick. But that was Boston’s fall-back plan, sources say. The Celtics initially chased Charlotte’s pick with the idea of sending it to the Knicks, along with Boston’s No. 15 pick, to vault all the way into the Knicks’ draft slot — where the Celtics would take Winslow. Charlotte refused Boston’s pitches, and the scenario died. The Knicks downplay their interest in Boston’s offer, though it’s fascinating to consider how the draft might have played out — and which fan base would be chanting “POR-ZIN-GIS!” today — had the Celtics swooped in for Winslow at No. 4. “We listened,” Mills says. “But we were never close.”
Knicks president Phil Jackson wasn’t that much a basketball genius that if Duke center Jahlil Okafor and Kristaps Porzingis were both on the draft board last June, he would’ve gone Latvian. According to an NBA source, as much as Jackson’s top adviser, Clarence Gaines Jr., wanted Jackson to take Porzingis even if the Knicks had the No. 1 pick, that wasn’t the way the Zen Master would have gone if it was a choice between the two big men. Okafor was Jackson’s man. “He had to draft Okafor — too much a sure thing,’’ the source said.