Longtime hoops scribe Peter Vecsey told HoopsHype’s Alex Kennedy (h/t Slam) that former New York Knicks president Phil Jackson toyed with the idea of trading Kristaps Porzingis for the No. 1 pick in June’s draft in an effort to land point guard Lonzo Ball.
“People knew, they probably wouldn’t have accepted, but Phil was angling to try to trade Porzingis for the No. 1 pick to Boston and he would have taken [Lonzo] Ball,” Vecsey said. “That’s who he was after. In the end, people might really like that.”
The conversation can be heard below starting around the 1:19:50 mark:
Jackson, of course, didn’t shy away from making Porzingis available before he parted ways with the Knicks.
In an interview with MSG Network prior to the draft, the 11-time champion admitted he had thought about trading the ascendant star.
“As much as we love this guy, we have to do what’s best for the club,” he said at the time, according to ESPN.com’s Ian Begley.
The Knicks and Boston Celtics reportedly engaged in trade discussions on the heels of those comments, but talks didn’t advance particularly far. At the time, Begley reported the Celtics offered the No. 3 overall pick, acquired from the Philadelphia 76ers, an unnamed player and another lottery pick they believed they could acquire on draft night.
New York ultimately stood pat at No. 8 and selected Frank Ntilikina, while the Celtics opted for Jayson Tatum at No. 3. Ball landed with the Los Angeles Lakers at No. 2.
The Knicks’ new regime, led by general manager Scott Perry and team president Steve Mills, have attempted to smooth things over with Porzingis since Jackson was jettisoned.
And while Porzingis admitted his tenure in New York hasn’t been without speed bumps, he sounded committed to the franchise when he spoke to reporters at the NBA Africa Game earlier this month.
“So far it’s been tough in New York, but my journey is only beginning and I hope to stay there my whole career, so as a city we can have some fun and win some games and do something big,” Porzingis told NBA.com’s Shaun Powell.
“For me, it’s now home.”
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