After a turbulent offseason involving trade rumors, Kristaps Porzingis is excited to get things started this year with the Knicks.
"So far it's been tough in New York, but my journey is only beginning and I hope to stay there my whole career, so as a city we can have some fun and win some games and do something big," Porzingis told Shaun Powell of NBA.com. "For me, it's now home."
After skipping a team meeting after the season ended, Phil Jackson said he was willing to deal Porzingis if the right deal came about. However, the Knicks parted ways with Jackson and have kept the 22-year-old forward.
"For everybody, a lot of things were surprising and a lot of things were unexpected," Porzingis said. "We'll see when I get there and start working out with the guys. We'll see what has changed. It's hard to say with everything going on in New York but once I get there I'll see things more clearer."
Carmelo Anthony has been embroiled in trade rumors all summer and is reportedly interested in waiving his no-trade clause to join the Houston Rockets. Porzingis would rather see the forward remain in New York.
"He's an All-Star, an incredible player and I've learned so much from him," Porzingis said of Anthony. "There's still so much for me to learn from him. I would love to have him around and keep playing alongside him. But it is what it is. It's a business. If it ends, well ... I don't know, it's out of my hands.
"I'm really thankful for these couple of years I've been with him, just seeing how he works during the summer. It proves he wants to win and he wants to be great. I'm sure he'll make the right decision for himself."
Porzingis, who averaged 18.1 points and 7.2 rebounds last year, is hoping he and the Knicks can reach the playoffs for the first time in his third season in the league. New York has not qualified for the postseason since the 2012-13 campaign.
"We're going to have a lot of new guys," Porzingis said. "Every year is almost like a new year. There will be a lot of changes. I'm going into the season hoping we have a group of guys who want to work hard and win. That's what's important."
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As soon as Phil Jackson was gone, it was a big sigh of relief for Kristaps Porzingis. Jackson was the black cloud over the Knicks organization and over Porzingis, really.
The 22-year-old undoubtedly loves it in New York. He's the face of the franchise in the greatest city in the world. When you win in New York, there's nothing like it. Unfortunately, he has yet to experience it and may not for at least a few years.
Why wouldn't he want Carmelo Anthony to stick around? It takes a ton of pressure off his shoulders and gives him a veteran to learn from and steer the ship. With Anthony gone, it becomes Porzingis' team and at 22, without a playoff game under his belt, that's a lot to ask for a kid from Latvia still learning the ropes of the NBA.
Anthony gets the questions after the games from the media before Porzingis does. Dealing with the New York media is difficult -- especially when you're a couple of years into a new country. Porzingis becomes the new scapegoat night in and night out if Anthony is traded. It's also a much more entertaining team to watch with Anthony and Porzingis on the court than almost anything the Knicks would get back in a trade.