The New York Knicks and Kristaps Porzingis are having a rocky offseason and things likely just got a whole lot worse. On Sunday the Knicks announced they would not be renewing the contract of Josh Longstaff, who happens to be Porzingis’ favorite assistant coach on the team. Something tells me this isn’t going to end well.
The offseason started with Porzingis skipping exit meetings with the team’s front office, and continued down a dark path when Porzingis ignored a text from head coach Jeff Hornacek. Now the franchise has extended president Phil Jackson’s contract and fired Longstaff, who is tight with the budding Latvian star.
Porzingis and Longstaff are so close, that New York’s young stud reportedly requested for him to serve as an assistant on the Latvian national team this summer at the European Championships. The 34-year-old Longstaff was mostly involved with player development, which is how he got close to Porzingis and the team’s other young players.
This is just moronic. Porzingis is a 21-year-old who has guard skills despite being 7’3″ and 240 pounds. While he regressed a bit in advanced metrics during his second season, the former lottery pick did set career highs in points (18.1), assists (1.5), blocks (2.0) and minutes (32.8) per game. He also upped his field goal percentage from 42.1 to 45.0 and his 3-point percentage from 33.3 to 35.7. The Knicks should be doing everything they can to appease him right now, not messing with his head.
None of this is good for Knicks fans, who clearly want the team to dump Carmelo Anthony as quickly as possible and build around Porzingis.
As it stands right now, the Knicks and Porzingis have a really damaged relationship. Something has to change if they want their young star to get back into the fold and fully buy-in to the franchise.