David Fizdale and Kristaps Porzingis talk via WhatsApp all the time

FIZDALE: “Yeah, we talked. We WhatsApp all the time and check in on each other. And my wife and I are flying out in two weeks to go spend a week with him and his family.”

What have you got garnered from your WhatsApp conversations?

FIZDALE: “Excitement. He likes exactly what I’m talking about from the standpoint of style of play. The fact that I won’t lock him into any position, that I’ll always try to put him in a position of success, that I’m going to challenge him to be an MVP and Defensive Player of the Year. I think he really likes the idea of the way I operate, how I’m going to hold guys accountable to a strict level. He likes the sound of that.

So, our conversations have been great. Every time we do something team-buildingwise, I always make sure that I hit him up and send him a picture, a film or whatever it is. He can’t get here for that, but I want him to still feel [he’s a part of it]. It’s been a good building process.”

via Marc J. Spears, The Undefeated

Fizdale plans to spend time with Porzingis in Latvia watching film

David Fizdale will visit Kristaps Porzingis in Latvia about a week after Summer League ends and will watch tape with him there. The coach has already created a cache of plays for Porzingis to watch, broken down and dissected, pulling from how Jeff Hornacek used him in New York to plays of how Fizdale has used players in Memphis, all trying to show how Fizdale imagines Porzingis will play with the Knicks when he returns from his torn ACL. Fizdale thinks that film sessions will account for a good amount of his time there when he visits.

“He’s going to get tired of me,” he said. “But about two of those days over there we’re going to watch film in Latvia because I got so much stuff I’ve broken down and pulled.”

via Mike Vorkunov, The Athletic

Fizdale hints at some interesting lineup combinations for Kristaps Porzingis

Q: What can Porzingis bring if he’s playing at the 5?

Fizdale: “As a center, it’s just Anthony Davis, you name him, he’s that. It’s dynamic guy who he can outrun everybody but you can’t put a small on him. You put somebody too big on him, he can pull him away from the rim. Defensively, he can guard everybody. It’s a luxury for me to have a guy that I can move around at different positions.

“At the same time I might do that, I might play him at what you call a small forward and go him, Luke, and Mitch and put a whole bunch of wingspan with Kevin at 2. And see how teams deal with that at the rim and with our length. I can’t lock him into nothing. I see a lot of places I can use him to be dynamic for us.”

via Mike Vorkunov, The Athletic

Steve Mills confident Knicks will have max space in 2019 to pursue star to pair with Porzingis

Steve Mills was a guest on Stephen A. Smith’s podcast where he covered a wide range of subjects related to the draft, free agency, David Fizdale, and Kristaps Porzingis.

Mills indicated that David Fizdale will travel with Craig Robinson to see Kristaps Porzingis sometime after Summer League. He said he texts with Porzingis often, and has been sending him videos of the guys working out in the gym.

Mills reiterated that the Knicks will not look to sign free agents this summer beyond one-year deals in order to preserve cap space in 2019.

From his comments about the Knicks feeling confident about having max cap space next summer, we can make some reasonable assumptions about how the roster might look heading into their spending splurge.

In interview during ACB Playoffs, Porzingis says he wants to be back in October, but needs to be smart

Kristaps Porzingis was interviewed during an ACB playoff game in Spain. Based on the translations I have collected from people, he said:

  • He’d like to be ready for opening day, but he knows it’s difficult
  • “I have a great team to recover with and I have to be patient but I really want to play ASAP”
  • “Loving some details (of european ball) that are not used in NBA”
  • “I have a great team to recover with and I have to be patient but I really want to play ASAP”

Sixers President likes Porzingis more than Embiid?

The Ringer sifted through a collection of secret Twitter accounts believed to belong to Philadephia Sixers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo and found some interesting takes.

In recent months—particularly since Simmons’s emergence as a formidable talent—the accounts became increasingly hostile toward Embiid. Earlier this season, HonestAbe compared him unfavorably to the Knicks’ Kristaps Porzingis. “I am a Philly fan but out trade The process for The Unicorn in a heart bit,” the account wrote. “Such a smarter player.”

via Ben Detrick, The Ringer

Report: Porzingis had license suspended, bad with Latvian police

According to Latvian news media reports, Porzingis had his driver’s license suspended last year for speeding. [Latvian tennis star Jelena] Ostapenko is well aware of the risks but is fighting daily temptation as she zooms around Riga in her blue Porsche Macan.

“The police are behind meeee,” she shouted, scanning her rearview mirror as she gave two visitors a tour of the capital between appointments. “The police are O.K. with the athletes, but look what happened to Porzingis. He was driving like 200 something, and he was very bad with the police. If you do something bad, you have to say you did it. If they come and you are like, ‘Do you know who I am?,’ they are going to just take everything from you.

via Christopher Clarey, New York Times

Breathe easy, Knicks fans: Porzingis breaks social media silence in relation to Fizdale hire

Woj: Phoenix had real chance at Porzingis last summer

Adrian Wojnarowski talks to Ryan Russillo about Kristaps Porzingis possibly going to Phoenix last summer.

Woj: Last year, I thought Phoenix had a chance to get Porzingis if they were willing to put the fourth pick in, which would have been Josh Jackson.

Woj: Porzingis wasn’t super enthusiastic about Phoenix and what his future would’ve been there. They wanted to be able to re-sign him, so I get showing some restraint there.

Listen from the 1:07:00 mark for the comments on Porzingis:

Fizdale meets with Porzingis’ agent (brother)

Knicks head coach David Fizdale took the first step toward building — and in many ways repairing — a relationship with Kristaps Porzingis by meeting with the All-Star forward’s agent Janis Porzingis, the Daily News has learned.

According to a Knicks source, Fizdale and Janis, Kristaps’ older brother, met in Manhattan on Friday after Fizdale returned from the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago.

The meeting was said to be productive and it is believed that Fizdale and Porzingis discussed Fizdale’s infamous falling out with Marc Gasol, which led to Fizdale being fired as Memphis Grizzlies head coach last November.

via Frank Isola, New York Daily News

Porzingis working out with Real Madrid

Kristaps Porzingis has not been doing most of his ACL rehab in Latvia as previously thought, but secretly working in Spain with Real Madrid, according to multiple sources.

Porzingis has conducted much of his offseason rehab in Madrid at its training facility that houses its superpower basketball and soccer clubs.

“KP is doing great in Madrid,’’ said Carlon Colker, Porzingis’ performance doctor based in Greenwich, Conn. “His aggressive rehab is at a jaw-dropping rate. In conjunction, his body is already looking beastly. By September, he’ll be almost non-recognizable with his shirt off. We’re working on increasing his lean muscle mass and also training for a functionality and ruggedness to compliment his game.’’

New Knicks coach David Fizdale said he would visit Porzingis after this week’s draft combine, but likely will see him in Latvia so he can meet his family and see his hometown Leipaja.

via Marc Berman, New York Post

Scott Perry cautious in predicting Porzingis timetable

Scott Perry: “I don’t think there’s a determination to be made,’’ Perry said. “Six, seven months out, you have a better chance to have a better time window. You talk to most medical doctors, you really can’t pinpoint how many months. [You have] a better estimate six, seven months out after surgery is completed. So who knows when that will be.”

via Marc, Berman, New York Post

Clyde doesn’t think Porzingis will play AT ALL next season

Fizdale will fly to Latvia to meet with Porzingis

A little more than 12 months ago, Porzingis skipped his exit meeting with Mills and then-president Phil Jackson due to frustration with the franchise. The relationship hasn’t been fully repaired.

Fizdale, however, seems determined to improve it. According to a report by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Fizdale plans to travel to Latvia to meet with Porzingis in his home country.

via Ian Begley, ESPN

So give Fizdale credit for being proactive in wanting to develop a partnership with Porzingis, whose trust and confidence in the Knicks organization hasn’t been very high the last few years. It’s not Phil Jackson-level bad but it could certainly be better.

via Frank Isola, New York Daily News

Porzingis Q&A: Fortnite too addicting

Nina Mandell of For the Win recently interviewed Kristaps Porzingis. Read the full interview here.

How much have you followed the Knicks’ coaching search and what are you looking for in a new coach?

As I said in the postseason press conference, I really don’t want to get involved in that too much. My job is to worry about my knee, myself and what I can do on the basketball court. The front office’s job is to find a coach that we need and they see the best option and then we’ll go from there. Right now my mind is focused on coming on back from the injury.

What about video games? Are you a Fortnite guy?

No I haven’t played Fortnight. I play a little bit of video games, but not a lot, but whenever I have a little bit of time. I just love to compete, so I love to play the online games where I can compete. I don’t want to get into Fortnite, it looks too addicting for me, so I better not try it.

via Nina Mandell, For the Win, USA Today


Multiple league sources also told ESPN that the Spurs have grown worried that Leonard’s group has an ulterior motive to fray the relationship and get Leonard traded to a larger market such as Los Angeles (Leonard’s hometown) or New York or Philadelphia (Robertson lives in New Jersey).

via Ramona Shelburne and Michael C. Wright, ESPN

Kawhi Leonard’s situation in San Antonio has become, well, strange. He has been working out in New York, and appears to like the city.

If he somehow becomes available, should the Knicks consider trading for him, even if it means giving up Porzingis?

Tommy Beer makes the case for the Knicks to go ALL IN on Kawhi

Admittedly, I have long been an outspoken proponent of a patient rebuild in New York. For instance, I was against trading away Porzingis for Kyrie Irving. And if the Knicks are unable to land Leonard, I will continue to advocate a methodical approach. However, Leonard is a game-changer, in the truest sense of the word.

New York’s current plan is to build a solid foundation around Porzingis and eventually clear enough cap space to sign a top-tier free agent. The problem is the Knicks haven’t had any success attracting max-level talent. Even in the years they’ve entered the offseason with money to spend, they were often forced to settle for average, overpriced players. The chance to trade for a player like Leonard is simply too great an opportunity to let slip by.

Read Tommy Beer’s full article here.

Frank Isola imagines what a potential trade for Kawhi Leonard would look like

Any deal for [Kawhi] Leonard would have to include Kristaps Porzingis, whom the Spurs are said to be head over heels with, as well as a first-round pick. It’s a steep price, but the addition of Leonard plus available cap space in the summer of 2019 could dramatically alter the course of history for the star-crossed franchise.

The one major problem, of course, is that Porzingis is currently recovering from major knee surgery and his status for next season is uncertain. But with Manu Ginobili and Parker possibly retiring, perhaps the Spurs are thinking of playing the long game.

Leonard has enjoyed his time in New York and isn’t averse to playing in a major market. That should also interest the Brooklyn Nets since their general manager, Sean Marks, has a good relationship with Leonard’s New Jersey-based uncle/advisor.

via Frank Isola, New York Daily News

Mike Budenholzer known for crafting systems around players

“Bud has this way about him,” Korver said as a Hawk about Budenholzer, who was a Spurs assistant from 1996 to 2013. “We really respect both how he teaches the game and the system but also who he is, his willingness to look you in the eye. Bud does a great job and they brought in pieces that fit. They didn’t just bring in random pieces for his system.”

That is key. Unlike past Knicks regimes, Budenholzer crafts systems around players, instead of trying to cram players into a system.

“He is regarded as a very good coach. He put in a totally new program in Atlanta very similar to San Antonio, but not exactly because he never had the playmakers off the dribble that San Antonio did. His is a lot more passing and moving and cutting,” a Western executive said. “He took guys and put them in position to have their best years.”

And that exec sees one primary beneficiary: Kristaps Porzingis when he is healthy following his ACL surgery.

He would put Porzingis in the best role possible to have success. He would know how to use him. A lot of these guys figure, ‘We’ll just get Porzingis the ball and let him do what he wants,’ ” the exec said. “He would put a system in where maybe Porzingis is a screener and the defense has to help [so] then he can pop to get shots or be like a high-post guy, pass the ball and then get a screen. He used Horford that way.”

via Fred Kerber, New York Post