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It’s well-documented by now that New York Knicks rising star Kristaps Porzingis skipped his exit interview with management after last season ended, as the power forward was unhappy with then president Phil Jackson and the direction the franchise was heading in.
Porzingis wanted to prompt change in the Knicks and send a message that he wasn’t going to sit back and be quiet like many players do when adverse situations arise — at least that’s what his brother and agent, Janis Porzingis, told the Latvian media recently.
“(Skipping the exit interview) wasn’t an emotional decision,” Janis said, according to a translation from Eurohoops.net. “It wasn’t a spontaneous action. We had been thinking about it for a long time and it was considered an honest, well-thought decision we came up with together. It was a logical next step for us, without which we would’ve been in one situation, but now after we did it – we are in another.”
Janis says ex-Knicks star Carmelo Anthony, who was praised for remaining professional during his time in New York while his name and reputation were being slandered by Jackson, didn’t take a stand against the lowly Knicks and never tried to change the culture.
Porzingis was heavily criticized for skipping the meeting with Jackson and the Knicks’ brass and his name was mentioned in a few trade rumors this summer before Jackson eventually stepped down as president.
Janis thinks it was contradictory how Porzingis was labeled as unprofessional for skipping the exit meeting while Anthony was lauded for acting silent and taking no action.
“It’s interesting how many people who are even somehow involved in all of this have criticized it afterward as something so unprofessional. Just look at Melo, how he is handling things,” Janis said. “And I’m thinking, ‘wait a minute.’ In reality, if he [Melo] for once decided to fight for something, we wouldn’t be in this situation and Kristaps wouldn’t be forced to take all the damage on himself.
“It wasn’t done for some personal interest or ambitions or dislike for someone, it was for the sake of overall peace. It should have been a task for the team’s leaders, but Melo and people around him never tried to change anything.”
Porzingis seems to be in a much better place now, both on and off the floor. The 22-year-old is averaging 27.9 points and 7.9 rebounds through the Knicks’ first seven games.
The third-year sharpshooter is eligible for a five-year maximum extension after the season ends, but Porzingis recently told the New York Daily News that he needs to see change from the Knicks before he commits to them long-term.
Janis says if the Knicks don’t keep his brother happy, KP could decide to move elsewhere.
“The most important question here is this: What do you really want to achieve in your career?” Janis said. “Because money – if Kristaps performs at least on his normal level, is gonna come. We are more focused on some other values and not just to quickly sign a new contract so we can collect the money. That’s definitely not our goal, so we won’t be feverishly counting minutes or counting points. You can’t escape the reality and the Knicks must also see that.
“From their point of view, Kristaps is the focal point at the moment so you cannot upset him much or otherwise, at the end of the season, he will say ‘it’s not so cool here.’ The second question is: Who is the New York audience coming to watch now? To a large extent, it’s Kristaps. So the organization has to take that into account.”