When the Knicks decided to trade injured All-Star Kristaps Porzingis in January, New York was facing trade-me-or-else pressure to make the move.
Team president Steve Mills said Wednesday that it wasn’t the Knicks’ preference to part with Porzingis, but he made it clear through an ultimatum that New York was no longer his preferred home.
“(Porzingis) point-blank said to us, ‘I don’t want to be here,'” Mills said Wednesday at a public speaking engagement. “(He said): ‘I’m not going to re-sign with the Knicks and I’m going to give you seven days to trade me, or I’m going back to Europe.’ Fortunately for us, through that process we (started) in September, we had a number of deals lined up, and we started the trade calls as soon as he walked out of the office.”
Trading Porzingis to the Dallas Mavericks helped create two supermax contract slots the Knicks could use to score a pair of big-ticket free agents in a class headlined by Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Klay Thompson and Jimmy Butler.
Porzingis, 23, did not play in 2018-19 while recovering from a knee injury. He averaged 22.7 points in 48 games in 2017-18.
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and Porzingis have said publicly the two sides are pushing forward on a contract extension.
–Field Level Media