NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Kristaps Porzingis’ brother didn’t hold back in an interview with the Latvian magazine Sporta Avize, saying the Knicks star skipped his exit interview last season to pressure the team to make changes and that New York had better keep “The Unicorn” happy if they hope to sign him to a contract extension.
Janis Porzingis, who is also his brother’s agent, ripped Carmelo Anthony for not taking a stronger stand against the Knicks sooner so that the 7-foot-3 power forward wouldn’t have had to.
“That wasn’t an emotional decision,” Janis Porzingis said of the missed exit interview with then-team president Phil Jackson, according to a translation by 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.
“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. … If he 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, who is averaging 27.9 points through the Knicks’ first seven games this season, is eligible to sign a maximum contract extension after this season. But his brother suggested there’s no urgency from his camp to get a deal done.
“The most important question here is this: What do you really want to achieve in your career?” Janis Porzingis said. “Because money, if Kristaps performs at least on his normal level, is going to 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.”
Porzingis won’t become an unrestricted free agent until after the 2019-20 season.
Meanwhile, Porzingis did not practice Thursday due to an illness and is questionable for Friday’s home game against the Suns.