Just one day after officially acquiring the top overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, the Sixers are tied to another potential blockbuster.
Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com is reporting the Sixers are one of multiple teams to inquire about the services of power forward Kristaps Porzingis.
The Knicks have received calls from multiple teams regarding 7-foot-3 big man Kristaps Porzingis, a team source told ZAGSBLOG. The source said Philadelphia, Phoenix and San Antonio have called regarding Porzingis. The Daily News also reported that Boston contacted the Knicks.
Porzingis had a great sophomore season with the Knicks, averaging 18.1 points and 7.2 rebounds while shooting 45 percent from the field. His combined stats over the first two years of his career put the Latvian star in rarefied company.
10 have averaged 18 PPG and 2 Blks PG within 1st 2 seasons.— Micah Adams (@MicahAdams13) June 20, 2017
- 7 are in HOF.
- 2 are Tim Duncan and Anthony Davis.
- Kristaps Porzingis.
Trading Porzingis makes little sense given the state of the Knicks roster, but tension between the seven-footer and Knicks president Phil Jackson has been broiling over for some time. Porzingis skipped his exit meeting with Jackson at the end of last season due to “frustration over dysfunction” surrounding the Carmelo Anthony saga. Porzingis then flew home to Latvia, where he’s spent most of the offseason training.
In late May, the Knicks opted not to renew the contract of assistant Josh Longstaff, who was reportedly Porzingis’s favorite coach on the staff.
On Tuesday, Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical reported that Jackson was said to be weighing the possibility of trading the 21-year-old, and recently had a dinner meeting with draft eligible power forward Lauri Markkaen, a player he felt could replace Porzingis.
Since Porzingis – frustrated with the level of dysfunction within the franchise – skipped his season-ending exit meeting, the Knicks haven’t made an attempt to reach or visit him in Europe this summer, league sources told The Vertical.
Porzingis remains determined to play for the Knicks and see his tenure through to success, sources said, but it has become clearer that Jackson has become increasingly intrigued with testing the trade market for Porzingis. The Knicks haven’t been engaging with teams on Porzingis, but that possibility is becoming more intriguing to Jackson between now and Thursday’s draft, league sources said.
New York is determined to acquire a frontline guard, something that a trade for Porzingis could gain for them.
The combination of Porzingis and Joel Embiid in the Sixers front court be absolutely deadly given their athleticism and ability to stretch the floor, but a deal with Philadelphia seems hard to fathom. Their only “frontline guard” isn’t even on the roster yet, and the team certainly won’t trade the top overall pick they just acquired over 24 hours ago to get Porzingis.
The Sixers are also waiting for 2016 top pick Ben Simmons to take the floor for the first time, and fitting him alongside Porzingis and Embiid would certainly be a tall task.
While the situation seems toxic at the moment, it’s truly hard to imagine Porzingis leaving the Knicks unless they’re overwhelmed by a package in return. He’s their only true bright spot, and a team that’s trying to refigure their identity needs a piece to build around. Porzingis is talented enough to be that guy.
His brother, Janis, reiterated that Kristaps would like to be in New York going forward.
Porzingis' brother, Janis -- who also works for Andy Miller, Porzingis' primary agent -- reiterated Tuesday that Porzingis loves New York and wants to win there.
"Despite how the Knicks are treating their players, Kris wants to stay in New York," Janis Porzingis said. "He loves the city and he loves the fans and he wants to win with this team. If he's going to be traded, he's going to play out his contact and decide his future on his own."
While imagining a world where Porzingis is on the Sixers is nice, it feels like a pipe dream. This story can probably be filed away as classic pre-draft fodder.