When the New York Knicks traded Kristaps Porzingis to the Dallas Mavericks in late January, it kind of came out of nowhere. For such a major deal, there weren’t a ton of reports or anything leading up to the trade. It just happened. Subsequently, most people have assumed the Knicks’ motivation in the deal was clearing enough cap space to put them in position to sign two max free agents this summer. But according to Knicks president Steve Mills, there was a bit more to the story.
“[Porzingis] point-blank said to us, ‘I don’t want to be here,'” Mills said at a speaking event on Wednesday. “[He said]: ‘I’m not going to re-sign with the Knicks and I’m going to give you seven days to trade me, or I’m going back to Europe.’ Fortunately for us, through that process we [started] in September, we had a number of deals lined up, and we started the trade calls as soon as he walked out of the office.”
OK, then. Some new light on an old story. In the end, it sounds like the Knicks were looking to trade Porzingis long before he gave them this ultimatum, but this certainly expedited the process. If New York indeed lands a pair of max free agents this summer and becomes an overnight championship contender like many believe could happen, Porzingis will have done New York a favor by demanding a trade.