In a meeting with New York Knicks management All-Star forward Kristaps Porzingis left the belief to franchise officials that he wants to be exchanged.
GM Scott Perry and Knicks president Steve Mills is expected to explore trade options for Porzingis ahead of Thursday’s trade deadline. Because Porzingis is a free agent this summer, teams chasing him will want to know that he’s prepared to generate a long-term commitment to them.
The Brooklyn Nets, LA Clippers, Miami Heat, San Antonio Spurs and Toronto Raptors are anticipated to be among Porzingis being pursued by the teams, league sources said.
Increasing tensions on both sides have abandoned moving Porzingis as the likely next step in his profession, and porzingis, sidelined for a year with an ACL injury, could become a free agent this summer, sources said. His uncertain standing together with the Knicks has become the focus of teams around the league which have wondered if there is a pathway to acquire him.
The Knicks (10-40) have struggled without Porzingis, that had been averaging a career-best 22.7 points per game before he injured his left knee in a breakout All-Star season in 2017-18. He was averaging 6.6 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game.
Porzingis, the No. 4 overall pick in the 2015 NBA draft, has wanted to play for a winner with all the Knicks, but he’s been searching for clarity on his future role with the group and the franchise’s direction. His name has been connected to trade discussions from the Phil Jackson and Perry regimes.
The Knicks decided against signing Porzingis before this season — a movement that led to an additional $10 million in the salary-cap area for summer of 2019 but gives Porzingis a chance to hit free agency in the offseason.
Porzingis was evaluated in January from the team’s medical staff, which confirmed his knee is healing.
He worked out on the court for roughly 45 minutes with a coach. The workout included Porzingis shooting. Mills said the choice for Porzingis to return will probably be up to the player and the group.