After the Knicks missed out on landing the big names during the NBA's offseason, the star player they traded away in January now says he's in the best shape of his life.
Speaking to reporters at Mavericks Media Day, Kristaps Porzingis said he's as healthy as he's ever been on the court.
"I feel great physically," Porzingis said. "I feel 100 percent. I feel probably better than I ever have in my life."
The fourth overall pick by the Knicks out of Latvia, the 7-foot-3 Porzingis blossomed into an All-Star by his third season in 2017-18, averaging 22.7 points and 6.6 rebounds per game, while shooting a career-best 39.5 percent from beyond the three-point line.
But a torn ACL in February 2018 ultimately ended his Knicks career. He was later traded to the Mavericks in January 2019 for a package that included Dennis Smith Jr., DeAndre Jordan, Wesley Matthews and a pair of draft picks.
Porzingis now appears to be in physically outstanding shape, with a much more defined frame than he's showcased in the past, hoping to keep his surgically repaired knee healthy.
"I didn't want to put on too much weight for a brand new knee, so everything had to be calculated," Porzingis said. "And at the end, we got here, close to the season, at the exact weight we wanted to be at and feel the exact way I wanted to feel.
"It's only the beginning. It's not that I've achieved something. I've gained a few pounds and feel stronger and so on, but this is nonstop work that we're going to be putting in."
Still just 24 years old, Porzingis is eager to get back on the court and prove himself with Dallas.
"It's been a long time since I've been out, but I've been putting in work throughout this rehab process," said Prozingis. "I'm extremely excited to be back on the court and to remind everybody what I'm capable of doing."
After trading Porzingis away last season, the Knicks finished the year with a league-worst record of 17-65. Despite the worst record, the Knicks didn't see the NBA Draft lottery balls go their way, as they ended up with the third overall pick, selecting Duke's RJ Barrett.
The Knicks also missed out on trade targets/free agents like Anthony Davis, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Durant, and instead landed players like Julius Randle, Elfrid Payton, Bobby Portis, and Marcus Morris, among others.
And now Porzingis is looking forward to helping the Mavericks get back to the playoffs for the first time since 2015-16.
"In our mind, we have to make the playoffs," said Porzingis. "That's the goal for us."