Kristaps Porzingis cannot hit restricted free agency until 2019, and with the advantages incumbent teams hold in those situations, it’s likely he won’t actually be a free agent until sometime around 2023 or 2024.
But that didn’t stop Damian Lillard from rolling out the recruiting carpet on behalf of the Portland Trail Blazers during a Twitter Q+A with fans:
@Dame_Lillard Thoughts on Porzingis?
— Dee® (@EliteRonn) May 4, 2017
If he ever gets tired of New York … Lol https://t.co/5ng5aFJ0qJ
— Damian Lillard (@Dame_Lillard) May 4, 2017
Well hey now!
Porzingis is already tried of New York. Or rather, he’s tired of the Knicks acting like the Knicks (i.e. incompetently). He skipped out on his exit interview with team president Phil Jackson, and as a known proponent of Carmelo Anthony, he cannot be happy about the way the Zen Master has dragged his name through the mud.
Oh! And Porzingis also tweeted “Clippers” over the weekend, only to have the tweet deleted and play the hack card:
I would never tweet something like that. I dont even use that emoji smiley face. Cmon B ??? pic.twitter.com/EXmtej5qzn
— Kristaps Porzingis (@kporzee) May 7, 2017
Hacked or not, score this one for Lillard’s recruiting efforts.
But while Porzingis’ frustration, and subsequent tacit demonstration, is totally warranted, he has no immediate way out. His leverage is his importance to the franchise, and it’s unclear whether the Knicks understand how important he actually is to their future. If they do, they’ll try to make nice in the coming years. They can lock him up regardless, but it’s better to have a productive partnership with your franchise cornerstone.
Besides, for the Blazers’ sake, they’re better off if Porzingis isn’t available until 2023 or 2024. That’s probably the next time they’ll have cap space anyway.