Another wrinkle was revealed in the aftermath of the Kristaps Porzingis trade.
According to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News, the 23-year-old All-Star was nearing the completion of his rehab from ACL surgery he had last February and was "essentially cleared to play."
Porzingis, however, was wary of how the Knicks would handle his potential return amid the team's tanking efforts, further dividing the rift between the 7-foot-3 Latvian "unicorn" and the Knicks' front office.
Porzingis also expressed dismay recently to Courtney Lee, Enes Kanter and others about the direction of the team, according to Bondy.
Knicks president Steve Mills said on Friday that Porzingis was not "buying into" what the Knicks were trying to do and that the final straw was with a meeting with Porzingis and his brother/agent, Janis.
Just hours after the meeting with Knicks management on Thursday, a deal was agreed upon to send him to the Mavericks, along with Tim Hardaway Jr., Lee and Trey Burke, in exchange for Dennis Smith Jr., the expiring contracts of Wesley Matthews and DeAndre Jordan and two future first-round draft picks.
Knicks GM Scott Perry also said that they talked with about eight or nine teams regarding a trade involving Porzingis.
The Knicks' plan is to make a splash in free agency with enough cap space now to sign two top free agents.