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Report: Knicks expected to open Porzingis trade talks before deadline

Nets, Clippers, Heat, Spurs, Raptors could be among potential suitors

Versatile forward and former All-Star Kristaps Porzingis is the key player in the hopes the New York Knicks have for a brighter future. After meeting with the team’s management on Thursday, though, it seems the star player and the team could be heading toward a parting of ways.

Per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne, Porzingis left the impression with team management after Thursday’s meeting that he would prefer to be traded. The Knicks are expected to commence discussions on trading Porzingis before next Thursday’s NBA trade deadline.

If a trade does take place, the Brooklyn Nets, LA Clippers, Miami Heat, San Antonio Spurs and Toronto Raptors are expected to be among the teams who would pursue him, Wojnarowski reports.

Porzingis talked with Knicks management about the state of the franchise and his future with the team. Porzingis and his brother, Janis, who is also his agent, expressed their frustration with the franchise’s losing ways, past dysfunction on the team and uncertainty over creating a sustainable, successful organization, Wojarowski reports.

The former No. 4 overall pick of the 2015 Draft, Porzingis has been sidelined for nearly a year with an ACL injury. He was named an All-Star in 2017-18, but his injury occurred days after that and he never got to play in that game.

Porzingis can become a restricted free agent this summer. Per Wojnarowski, he has been searching for clarity on his future role with the team and the franchise’s direction. Since being drafted in 2015, Porzingis has seen his name in trade talks several times.

The Knicks have never won more than 32 games in each of Porzingis’ three seasons and he played for three coaches — Derek Fisher, Kurt Rambis and Jeff Hornacek — during that span.

In December, team president Steve Mills said the team was pleased with Porzingis’ recovery from his ACL, and another round of testing scheduled for mid-February could clarify his timeline for his return.

Porzingis was hurt Feb. 6 after landing on a dunk in a game against Milwaukee.

The Knicks are last in the Eastern Conference at 10-40, so Porzingis won’t be able to save them this season. But having him on the court could help them in the summer, as potential free agents may want to see if the 7-foot-3 Latvian is fully back before they would consider the Knicks.

But Mills said in December that won’t play into the Knicks’ thinking.

“The most important thing for us is to have Kristaps on the court when he feels comfortable being on the court and we feel comfortable that he should be out there,” Mills said. “That’s more important than any timetable this season, some point in the summer. The most important thing is that we know that we’ve got this guy in a place that he feels comfortable on the floor and we feel comfortable in his ability to be part of what we’re doing long term. That’s more important than anything else that we can lay out.”

Mills also declined to discuss how Porzingis’ recovery would factor into whether the team offers him a contract extension in the summer.

He believes then that Porzingis – who grew so fed up with the franchise in its final days under Phil Jackson that he skipped his exit meeting before returning to Europe for the summer – was pleased with the team. Mills said Porzingis is almost always at the practice facility and sits with teammates during film sessions.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.