Knicks president Steve Mills denies rift with Kristaps Porzingis
New York Knicks president Steve Mills denies the development of a rift with Kristaps Porzingis after the team declined to give him an extension by Monday’s deadline. Mills instead insists the Knicks and their young superstar are “in a good place.”
Mills indicated Porzingis has not articulated any disappointment in the decision.
“One thing about my relationship with KP is that when he is unhappy about something or disappointed about something he’s been very forthright in coming to me and saying, ‘Steve you know what? I’m not happy about this,” Mills said in an interview this week on ESPN Radio, via the New York Daily News. “And throughout this whole process he’s been very excited about David Fizdale as the coach, he’s been very excited about the players, the young players that we have.
“And I watch him every day at shootaround, I watch him every day at practice and watch how he’s engaged with his teammates so I think we’re in a good place.”
The Knicks had the option of giving the injured Porzingis a five-year, $158 million extension. By deciding not to do so, Porzingis is slated to become a restricted free agent. The move has long been expected as it would have financially hamstrung any effort by the Knicks to attract a free agent next offseason.
Mills argued that the decision benefits the Knicks and in turn, Porzingis as well.
“We think it ended up in a situation that’s best for the long-term view of the Knicks which ultimately will be the best in the long term view for KP because he’ll have a better team that he’ll be part of,” Mills said.
Porzingis, currently rehabbing after tearing the ACL in his left knee in February, has not publicly discussed his contract. While Porzingis’ recovery has been encouraging according to his surgeon, the Latvian star is still not expected back for some time.
It merits noting there were reports of friction between Porzingis and the previous regime, but no such rumors as of yet involving current Knicks leadership. Perhaps things are just fine as Mills insists.