When Kristaps Porzingis was traded to the Mavericks before the NBA trade deadline, it sent shockwaves through the NBA as the Knicks sent away their face of the franchise. But the Knicks stated that Porzingis wanted to be traded, saying he was unhappy in New York.
Speaking on ESPN's "The Michael Kay Show" on Tuesday to discuss the incident this weekend at MSG regarding a Knicks fan, Knicks owner James Dolan also touched on the Porzingis traded briefly as well. Though he didn't want to speak for Porzingis, who still hasn't discussed his "stay woke" comment or told his side of the story since the trade, Dolan said the Latvian big man basically left the team no choice.
"I thought our guys tried really hard to integrate him in our system," Dolan said. "I don't want to put words into his mouth. When he came in and said to us, 'I wanted to be traded' that sort of cast the dye on what we had to do."
The Knicks' new regime did try to make strides to keep Porzingis happy, especially head coach David Fizdale who made it a point to visit him in Latvia over the summer. However, Porzingis made up his mind that he didn't like where things were heading for the Knicks, which led to a meeting with the Knicks' front office where Janis, his brother and agent, gave the Knicks a list of four teams he wanted to be moved to.
The Mavericks weren't on the list, but Porzingis is now paired up with his idol in Dirk Nowitzki and rookie phenom Luka Doncic, who also has a relationship with the Unicorn.
With the trade, the Knicks received another max slot to sign a top free agent this summer, something Dolan is confident will happen despite his franchise being the worst team in the league.
"New York is the mecca of basketball and we hear from people all the time, from players, from representatives about who wants to come," he said. "...I can tell you from what we've heard, we're going to have a very successful offseason when it comes to free agents."