NEW YORK -- David Fizdale has a busy couple of weeks ahead of him now that he's officially been introduced as the new coach of the Knicks.
He will attend next week's NBA Draft Combine in Chicago with President Steve Mills and GM Scott Perry, and is also planning to jet off to Latvia to meet with Kristaps Porzingis.
"We're working on that right now, the plane's warming up," Fizdale cracked about his upcoming summit with Porzingis. Fizdale did not elaborate on his order of events, but The New York Post reported the Latvia trip will "likely" take place after the Combine, which runs May 16-20.
Porzingis is rehabbing his ACL injury in his native Latvia and will now have a chance to meet face-to-face with his new coach -- the fourth of his Knicks' tenure after Derek Fisher, Kurt Rambis, and Jeff Hornacek.
"He's the future of the NBA," Fizdale said. "You look at all these teams that are still playing right now and they all got guys who are super long, super athletic, super skilled, super tough-minded, are incredible workers and that is what [Porzingis] embodies. Obviously, I don't know him personally yet, but he fits all the qualities of a megastar and a guy who can really propel a franchise forward to high places."
It's unclear when Porzingis will return and Fizdale could coach much -- or all -- of his first season in New York without the unicorn. Fizdale said other players will have to step up in his absence.
"I see opportunity," he said. "Without Kristaps, there's going to have to be some other guys that really have to step in and take on bigger roles and also have to collaborate and lean on teammates more to have success and grow and get better, so that was a challenge I knew going into [it]."
When Porzingis is ready to play again, Fizdale envisions using him in a number of ways.
"I just see so many different ways to use him," he said. "Obviously, if you play him at some five, it's like that super-lineup you're always seeing from these different teams. I don't even know how you match up with him from that perspective. But he can play four. If you have another space guy at the four, he might even be able to play position-less."
"I don't want to put any kind of ceiling on him or any of these other guys. We haven't worked together, so I want to give them a clean slate and build them up to be the best players they can be and put a lot of confidence in them."
Porzingis is eligible for a five-year contract extension worth $157 million beginning this summer, and the Knicks could opt to structure it the way the Philadelphia 76ers structured Joel Embiid's deal, which included provisions that would allow the 76ers to cut Embiid and save money if he misses significant time due to injuries.
"We're not going to talk about Kristaps' contract situation at this point," Mills said when Jeff Hornacek was fired.