Kristaps Porzingis wishes he handled controversial Knicks ending ‘differently’
WASHINGTON — Kristaps Porzingis admits there are things he would change about leaving the Knicks in a sought-after trade while recovering from a January 2019 knee injury.
The former All-Star big man returned to the Wizards lineup to score 21 points and grab four rebounds against his former team in a 112-108 Knicks victory on Friday night after missing their previous game with sore ribs.
“Can I go back and do things differently? Of course, from our side,” Porzingis told NBA.com. “I was hurt. If I had continued to play, it would have been completely different. I’m young and I listen to people and what they tell me about what I should do with my career. You don’t know better. That’s how things went back then.
“I can only say very good things about the organization because I really enjoyed playing there in New York and playing in front of those fans. It was a dream come true. At the moment, I did not realize that it is not like this everywhere. New York is a special place. Madison Square Garden is the most special place I’ve ever played. But at that moment, I thought it was like that in every team. I had the most fun playing in the Garden.”
Kristaps Porzingis goes for a shot against the Pelicans on Jan. 9, 2023. Getty Images
Drafted by since-fired president Phil Jackson, the first sign of discontent came when Porzingis skipped an exit meeting after his second NBA campaign, though Porzingis suggested it wasn’t his idea.
“Do you think I’m up to it?” Porzingis asked with a laugh. “It is what it is.”
In his third year, Porzingis averaged 22.7 points and was named to his first All-Star team when he suffered a torn ACL in his left knee in February 2018.
However, while recovering the following January, Porzingis expressed to the front office that he was unhappy with the direction of the organization. He was traded to the Mavericks with Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Courtney Lee in exchange for Dennis Smith Jr., DeAndre Jordan, Wesley Matthews, and most importantly, first-round draft picks in 2021 and 2023.
Kristaps Porzingis takes a photo with Knicks NBAE fans via Getty Images
“I don’t want to go into too much detail, but the way things went with the communication was not my style,” Porzingis added. “My style would be different with whatever had to be done. Maybe it was nothing. My style would have been different. But I was wrong. I was going with the flow.”
The 7-foot-3 Porzingis, who was traded back from Dallas to Washington at last February’s trade deadline, is averaging 22.0 points in 37 appearances this season for the Wizards, who entered Friday night with an 18-24 record. .
Now, the 27-year-old native of Latvia claims he is “mature” and his “mind is tougher”, making him better equipped to deal with injuries and criticism.
Kristaps Porzingis playing for the Knicks in the 2018 NBAE via Getty Images
“Just playing at the Garden, getting that love from the fans and the support, it made me appreciate every person who asked for a photo or an autograph. “I appreciated it more when I got hurt,” Porzingis said. “If I didn’t get hurt in New York, you never know how things could have gone. But I can’t go on living with this feeling of regret.
“I have to keep moving forward. I’m very happy here in Washington right now. I’m focused on now and what’s ahead.”