Report: Kristaps Porzingis' agent steered Sixers from rookie star

Report: Kristaps Porzingis' agent steered Sixers from rookie star

By James Herbert | NBA writer

Kristaps Porzingis' camp "wanted no part" of the Philadelphia 76ers and their multiyear rebuild before last June's draft, according to Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski. Porzingis wanted to be in New York and agent Andy Miller didn't exactly try to sell Sixers general manager Sam Hinkie on his client, per the report.

From Yahoo Sports:

Miller didn't make it easy for Philadelphia to draft Porzingis at No. 3. The Sixers wouldn't be afforded Porzingis' physical, nor get a private workout, nor even a face-to-face meeting. After most of the pro day executives cleared out of the gym in Vegas in mid-June, 76ers general manager Sam Hinkie lingered to meet with Miller. Hinkie stopped him in the lobby area and asked Miller about a chance to sit down and visit with Porzingis.

"You said that I would get a meeting with him here," Hinkie told Miller.

"I said, 'I'd try,' and it's not going to work out, Sam," Miller responded.

An awkward silence lingered, the GM and agent, standing and staring. The Porzingis camp wanted no part of the Sixers' situation at No 3. Miller couldn't stop Philadelphia from drafting Porzingis, but he could limit the information they had to make a decision. And did. No physical. No meeting. No workout. The Sixers passed on Porzingis on draft night, clearing the way for the Knicks to select him.

That sounds dramatic. Five thoughts:

1. The new story has more detail, but it is not the first we're hearing of this -- Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer reported in late December that the Sixers were denied an interview with Porzingis in Vegas.

2. Philadelphia could still have drafted him. It would have been riskier, sure, but that Philadelphia Inquirer story cited sources saying Jahlil Okafor didn't want to go there, either. It's hard to imagine Porzingis refusing to report to the team.

3. There has been lots of debate about whether or not "The Process" will work for the Sixers, and the claim that agents don't want their clients playing for them has been repeated many times over. This hits hard because it's tangible evidence of that being the case, with a player that would have potentially been a franchise-changer for Philadelphia. This in no way invalidates the plan, but it looks bad.

4. Marc Berman of the New York Post reported earlier this month that Sixers ownership was determined to take Karl-Anthony Towns, Jahlil Okafor or D'Angelo Russell, for fear that an "unknown European prospect" wouldn't please fans. If that is true, it is far more troubling than Porzingis and Miller, who also represents Sixers big man Nerlens Noel, preferring him in New York. It's also worth noting that the Post reported the Knicks would have taken Okafor over Porzingis, just like Philly did.

5. It remains possible that Hinkie would have taken Okafor anyway. Of course, every front office would like to meet and work out its draft pick beforehand, but Philadelphia surely did as much homework as it could. Okafor's skills in the post are extremely rare, and Porzingis still had questions to answer about his thin frame. Maybe he would have blown away the Sixers had they been given more access, but there's no way to know that.

Kristaps Porzingis could have been teammates with Nerlens Noel.  (USATSI)
Kristaps Porzingis could have been teammates with Nerlens Noel. (USATSI)

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