David Fizdale, the new head coach of the New York Knicks, isn't wasting any time attempting to get on the good side of his star player, Kristaps Porzingis.
On Friday, Frank Isola of the New York Daily News reported that Fizdale met with Porzingis' older brother and agent, Janis, in Manhattan where talks were "productive." Kristaps was not at the meeting as he continues his recovery from a torn ACL in Madrid, Spain.
It's a big first step for Fizdale, who is attempting to fix a Knicks franchise that has been nothing short of dysfunctional for much of the past two decades. That dysfunctionality has spread to Porzingis, who has been tabbed as the current and future face of the franchise after Carmelo Anthony was traded before the start of last season.
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Porzingis grew unhappy with the Knicks organization over the past two years due to their lack of directional organization, which included the implementation of the triangle offense under then-head coach Jeff Hornacek. It resulted in him skipping out on his exit interview at the end of the 2016-17 season with former president Phil Jackson and Steve Mills, who took over as president when Jackson was dismissed last summer, and hiding out in Latvia for a large part of the offseason.
Mills and general manager Scott Perry didn't do much to try and smooth over the relationship with Porzingis, who carried the Knicks for the first half of the 2017-18 season with All-Star numbers before suffering the season-ending injury in February.
It's left an awkward strain surrounding the relationship between Porzingis and the Knicks and Fizdale has rightly made it a top priority to get on the star's good side early in his tenure.
Hired just two weeks ago, Fizdale joked that "the plane's warming up" when asked if he was going to visit Porzingis in Europe this offseason. While he hasn't gone yet, Fizdale has made it known that he will go this summer to meet with him.
It's imperative that the relationship is fixed, and rather quickly. Porzingis is signed through next season before his contract expires and he might not even play due to an expected long recovery timetable. Initially, he was expected to return around Christmastime, but now his entire season is in doubt.
Regardless, he is the biggest talent and the best hope the Knicks have when it comes to being a competitive team and losing him would be disastrous to the organization. While Fizdale has a ton of work to do in order to get the Knicks on the right track in the Eastern Conference, at least he's being proactive, which can't be said about the men that came before him.