The New York Knicks recently picked up the team option to re-sign Kristaps Porzingis. However, he was nearly traded before the NBA Draft.
While speaking with Alex Kennedy on the HoopsHype Podcast, veteran NBA reporter Peter Vecsey spoke about former New York executive Phil Jackson. Vecsey received the first (and only) quote from Jackson since his departure from the Knicks.
Around the one-hour-and-20-minute mark of the podcast with Kennedy, Vecsey discussed the Porzingis situation. He said that when Jackson began “embarrassing” their Latvian-born star, team owner James Dolan knew it was no longer a good fit for his tenure as an executive.
According to Vecsey, however, Jackson was legitimately interested in dealing Porzingis:
People knew, they probably wouldn’t have accepted, but Phil was angling to try and trade Porzingis for the No. 1 pick to Boston and he would have taken [Lonzo] Ball. That’s who he was after. In the end, people might really like that.”
The narratives of the Knicks and the Lakers would have been entirely different if Porzingis was in Los Angeles and Ball was in New York. Of course, it also alters the story arc of the Boston Celtics and the Philadelphia 76ers as well.
If the Celtics had agreed to the deal, Boston wouldn’t have traded the top selection in the draft to the Sixers and Markelle Fultz would have likely played, instead, for the Lakers as the No. 2 overall pick.
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