Phil Jackson must step up to save relationship with Kristaps Porzingis - Metro US

Phil Jackson must step up to save relationship with Kristaps Porzingis

Knicks president Phil Jackson and draft pick Kristaps Porzingis at his introductory press conference in 2015. (Photo: Getty Images)

New York Knicks president Phil Jackson met with Kristaps Porzingis’ brother and agent, Janis, on Saturday in an attempt to mend the damaged relationship that saw the young Latvian star skip his end-of-season exit interview with management.

In true Knicks fashion though, “there was no substantial progress made,” as first reported by ESPN.com.

After one of the most dysfunctional seasons from a NBA team in recent memory, Porzingis’ frustration boiled over to him standing Jackson and Knicks general manager Steve Mills up shortly after a 31-51 regular season wrapped up.

It was the fourth-straight year and 13th time in 16 seasons that the Knicks had a losing record and missed the playoffs.

While the second-year man obviously hasn’t been with the Knicks for nearly that long, the inconsistencies of not playing under a set offensive scheme and the behavior of his teammates and president away from the court struck a nerve with the 21-year-old.

Jackson has continuously tried to push Porzingis’ mentor, Carmelo Anthony, out of town while Derrick Rose beat a sexual assault case at the beginning of the season and inexplicably disappeared for a few days during January.

Not to mention there was also the Charles Oakley incident and Joakim Noah’s drug suspension.

So Porzingis did what many of us probably would of if we worked under those conditions: boarded a plane shortly after the regular season and returned home to Latvia and has since traveled around Europe.

He hasn’t talked to the Knicks at all, either.

It prompted teams to call New York and ask if he was available for trade, though nothing of note actually arose from any of those calls.

For a team that hasn’t had much to cheer about over the last two decades, now is not the time for Phil Jackson’s hubris to get in the way of what’s best for the team.

Porzingis is the future and the best thing that has happened to the Knicks since Anthony arrived in New York. 

So the equation for Jackson is actually quite simple: swallow your pride and get Porzingis back on good terms so he can lead this team for the next decade. If he runs the 7-foot-3 star out of town, an aggravated fan base with 16 years worth of anger will probably make sure he meets the same fate.

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