There’s been an assumption that ex-team president Phil Jackson was the root of Porzingis’ issues with the club. That’s incorrect. Some people around the Knicks during Porzingis’ tenure in New York said his issues stemmed from a lack of faith that the Knicks could create a winning environment, one where he could thrive individually and on the team level.
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It had become clear, sources said, that Jackson had no plans to remain beyond the two years left on the five-year contract he initially signed in 2014. So with no clear path forward from the toxic situation with Anthony, a constant public relations war over Jackson’s preferred triangle offense, and new concerns about the organization’s relationship with Latvian phenom and 2015 No. 4 overall pick Kristaps Porzingis, sources said it was clear things had reached a breaking point by the eve of free agency.
League sources said Knicks president Phil Jackson’s trade requests to at least two teams were beyond extreme and that they may have just been a ploy to motivate Porzingis, the 7-foot-3 Latvian who seemed to anger Jackson by skipping an end-of-season exit interview.
“(Porzingis) should tell (Jackson) himself. That’s why you got a mouth,” Oakley said. “All they can do is trade you or keep you. But you got to realize that you have an opinion too. You can’t worry about what they will do. But all you can do is tell them to respect you. When they disrespect you, you have a right to say something to them. If you disrespect them, they have a right to say something to you. You can’t be sensitive. It’s a two-way street.”
“We’re getting calls. As much as we value Kristaps and what he’s done for us, when a guy doesn’t show up for an exit meeting everybody starts speculating on the duration or movability from a club,” Jackson said in an interview on MSG Network. “So we’ve been getting calls and we’re listening, but we’re not intrigued yet at this level. But as much as we love this guy we have to do what’s good for our club.”
Jackson was asked why he’d consider trading Porzingis, the Knicks’ young star and a player regarded around the NBA as someone whom a franchise can be built around. “The future, you know, what it brings,” Jackson said. “Does it bring us two starters and a draft pick or something that’s even beyond that? (That’s) something we have to look at as far as going down the road.”
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June 18, 2021 | 1:34 am EDT Update
The Athletic has learned through league sources that the Magic have asked permission to interview Phoenix Suns assistant coach Willie Green, Milwaukee Bucks assistant coach Charles Lee and Brooklyn Nets assistant coach Ime Udoka. Green, 39, is completing his fifth season as an NBA assistant coach. A former NBA shooting guard, Green worked three seasons as an assistant coach/player development for the Golden State Warriors under Steve Kerr before he joined Monty Williams’ coaching staff in Phoenix in 2019.
The Magic have begun their interview process, sources said, but their coaching search is expected to be wide-ranging and almost certainly will include candidates in addition to Green, Hammon, Kidd, Lee, Udoka and Unseld. Tyrone Corbin, Pat Delany and Steve Hetzel — assistant coaches under Clifford who currently remain under contract with Orlando — could be interviewed, if they haven’t been interviewed already. Many league insiders who work for other teams think the Magic could have interest in as many as three members of the LA Clippers’ coaching staff: associate head coach Dan Craig and assistant coaches Kenny Atkinson and Chauncey Billups.
Last week, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Penny was receiving interest from NBA teams. On his podcast this week, FOX Sports college basketball analyst Aaron Torres said that he has heard similar talk. Torres specifically said there is some buzz about Hardaway possibly going to the Magic. There is history between Hardaway and the Magic that makes sense for him to be a candidate.
Jay Williams thinks a Luka Doncic-Knicks union is possible amid the ongoing drama in Dallas. “Earlier in the year I said New York could be a potential opportunity [for Luka] and people killed me for it. It’s feasible,” Williams argued on his “Keyshawn, JWill & Zubin” show Thursday — one day after the Mavericks parted ways with GM Donnie Nelson.
Later on Thursday, Doncic said Nelson’s exit was “tough” for him. “There are feasible scenarios, where you start looking at, where will Luka want to go and build if it doesn’t work out in Dallas,” Williams continued, noting that “New York isn’t the only option. “But I will say there’s a lot of rumblings, and [Mavericks owner] Mark Cuban needs to put water on that fire.”
Playing a desperate team facing elimination, the Nets got off to yet another maddeningly slow start. And it cost them dearly in a 104-89 Eastern Conference semifinal Game 6 loss before a sellout crowd of 16,310 at Fiserv Forum. Kevin Durant, who’d been superhuman in carrying the Nets to a Game 5 comeback two days earlier, was merely brilliant Thursday. He had 32 points and 11 rebounds. James Harden looked more like himself in his second game back from a hamstring injury, with 21 points, eight boards and five assists. But it wasn’t enough.
Brooklyn went big with Jeff Green at power forward next to Durant, Joe Harris sliding down to off-guard and Bruce Brown going to the bench. But the Nets still got beaten on the boards, run off the court 26-4 in fast-break points, and left in an 11-2 early hole that reached 21 and proved too much to overcome. “The biggest thing is just how we start,” Landry Shamet had warned beforehand. “Even going back to the other night in Game 5, slow start, struggled to find our rhythm early, didn’t play with the right physicality. Things really that we can control that we did really, really well in Game 1 and Game 2, jump out to a big lead. “Those are the biggest things that we’re missing in the two road losses. It’s our energy, how we start the game. That’s all we can control, so that’s our plan going forward.”