Knicks president Steve Mills is focused on rebuilding the franchise, and that means being cautious with All-Star forward Kristaps Porzingis and their draft picks from this year and the future.
At a team town hall, Mills said he wants to play the long game in having the Knicks return to being a contender.
"We're not going to take shortcuts," Mills said, according to The Athletic's Mike Vorkunov. "We're not going to trade our draft picks. Really, we believe New Yorkers will live with a plan and buy into a plan as long as we articulate it. ... We're not going to trade away assets for a guy we can get on our own later."
Porzingis, the face of the Knicks franchise who suffered a torn ACL midway through last season, is back in New York, according to Mills, however the team will evaluate his progress and determine a plan for his potential return.
"Kristaps is doing well," Mills said. "He's coming along well. ... KP's engaged and we're in a good place with him."
That said, the Knicks don't want to rush the 23-year-old All-Star back and risk him suffering another injury. While Mills wouldn't put a definitive timetable on Porzingis' return and wouldn't rule out the possibility on him missing the entire 2018-19 season, he wants to treat it delicately.
"We are not going to do anything that jeopardizes the future of this franchise," Mills said, according to The Knicks Wall.
Included in that future are 2018 first-round pick Kevin Knox and second-round pick Mitchell Robinson. New Knicks head coach David Fizdale said, according to ESPN's Ian Begley, while the two will be making the adjustment to the NBA level, he said he challenged Knox to help Robinson develop into a leader given Robinson forwent college and Knox learned under Kentucky head coach John Calipari.
Also in the Knicks' future plans is second-year point guard Frank Ntilikina, who, GM Scott Perry said, bulked up 10-15 pounds during offseason workouts, according to Begley.
But also important are what assets the Knicks have in future drafts. While previous regimes traded first-round picks and other valuable draft assets for players who could have made short-term impacts, Mills said that won't be the case.
"I'm a New Yorker. I don't want to see the things that happened in the past again," Mills said, according to The Record's Chris Iseman.
Instead, tthe organization plans to hold onto its first-round picks in the near future and wouldn't trade players for someone they may be able to sign in free agency.
"We're not going to trade any of our (first-round) draft picks," Mills said, according to Begley.