Kristaps Porzingis skipped exit meetings with New York Knicks management due to frustration over what he perceives as the dysfunction and drama surrounding the organization, team sources told ESPN.com.
Under team president Phil Jackson, the Knicks have struggled in Porzingis' two seasons in New York, losing a combined 101 games.
According to team sources, Porzingis is frustrated with the Knicks' lack of direction. The team missed out on the playoffs for the fourth straight season.
Saturday evening, Adrian Wojnarowski expanded on the burgeoning schism between Porzingis and the Knicks. Via The Vertical:
Porzingis passed on the exit interviews, as ESPN's Ian Begley first reported, and league sources say Porzingis is planning a long trip back to Latvia that may not include a return to New York until closer to the start of training camp.
Porzingis has educated himself on how successful NBA organizations are run and knows now that the Knicks – from ownership to management to coaching – are nowhere near delivering him the platform to develop into the cornerstone of a winning team.
It is possible that Porzingis will connect with Jackson before he departs for the summer, but he appears in no rush. Porzingis has been a dutiful teammate and employee for two seasons, but the franchise's most important player since Patrick Ewing is preparing for his third NBA season across the world – far from Phil Jackson, the triangle and the chaos of the Knicks organization.
For now, Porzingis' message appears to be unmistakable for New York's lost cause of an organization: You're on the clock with me, too.
According to my calculations, having your rising star of a second-year player already so sick of you that he skips out on an exit interview without telling anyone is ... not good. The worst part is that most of this trouble is of Jackson's and the Knicks' making.
Porzingis isn't naive, he surely realized the Knicks weren't going to be a championship contender in his second season based on the roster he joined. No matter how good of a front office a team has, it's usually not possible to jump from the top of the lottery to the top of the standings that quickly. What is possible, however, is to be up front with your players, to not constantly flip-flop on the offensive philosophy, and to not disparage your stars in the press. Those seem like pretty simple things.
Knowing the Knicks, though, this will be far from the end of the drama. It should be quite interesting to see what happens over the course of their offseason.