Was one factor in Kristaps Porzingis wanting a trade from the New York Knicks a lack of desire to play with Kevin Durant? That’s what one NBA insider thinks.
Zach Lowe talked with Knicks reporter Ian Begley on “The Lowe Post” podcast that was published on Friday. The Porzingis trade was their first item of discussion, and Begley emphasized there was a multitude of factors contributing to Porzingis’ desire to be moved.
Lowe made note of the salary cap space the team was seeking and pointed out that another factor is that Porzingis wanted to be the face of the franchise. Had Durant joined the Knicks, Porzingis would have been overshadowed, and that’s not something he wanted.
“There is the possibility that [the Knicks] got the sense that [Porzingis] wasn’t psyched of how aggressively they were going to court bigger names than him. That’s possible,” Lowe said. “I’m confident after talking to a lot of people, I don’t think he was psyched about playing with (Kevin) Durant. I don’t know how directly that was verbalized to the Knicks. I’m confident that it wasn’t something that was like his Plan A that he was super thrilled about it. He wanted to be the face of the franchise. I think that’s known, that’s fair.”
Lowe pointed out that if Durant went to the Knicks, the former MVP would instantly be the face of the franchise and overshadow Porzingis. Contrarily, other potential free agents, like Kemba Walker or Kawhi Leonard, aren’t as big of stars and would therefore share the spotlight with Porzingis.
The New York Daily News’ Stefan Bondy says he was told that if Porzingis did not want to play with Durant, the sentiment was not expressed to the Knicks.
If Kristaps Porzingis didn't want to play with Kevin Durant, it was never said to the Knicks, according to a team source. https://t.co/9p1QQuVhjE
— Stefan Bondy (@SBondyNYDN) February 23, 2019
Overall, it seems that Porzingis just lacked confidence in the Knicks’ front office, and his unhappiness with them was expressed from the start of his career. Not wanting to be overshadowed by a bigger star was probably more of a secondary factor in his desire to be traded.