On Friday, Phil Jackson dismissed the notion that his treatment of and the drama surrounding the Carmelo Anthony situation would impact his reputation or hurt the Knicks' chances with forthcoming free agents.
Prior to that happening, though, Kristaps Porzingis had reportedly skipped out on his exit meeting. Following Jackson's comments, Michelle Roberts of the NBPA released a statement calling Jackson's remarks about Anthony "inappropriate."
At 21 years old, Porzingis may have jumped the gun by being insubordinate. There are other ways to express a feeling or send a message. Nevertheless, what the young gun did was bold. In a way, his actions were an opportunity to stand up for Anthony.
On the other hand, such an absence should also be a message that Porzingis won't tolerate or put up with the same type of disregard, as he emerges as the Knicks' next big star. Porzingis is still playing out his rookie scale contract, but perhaps he's trying to put New York on notice that they're already on the clock with him as well.
Given Jackson's continued failures, there's not much time to waste before turning things around. The executive has already wasted the first two years of Porzingis' NBA career, failing to make strides toward a more competitive or positive environment.
Perhaps sensing his own window of opportunity to win in New York was closing, Anthony (after initially resisting involvement) gave the front office his feedback and promised to be more active in the recruiting process last offseason. As Anthony was getting older, New York hoped to make one last push toward creating a team that could support him and earn some more victories. That clearly didn't work out as planned, but Anthony and his team had some obvious distractions in the way over the course of the campaign.
Wth Porzingis displeased with the state of disarray and an extended summer hiatus to Latvia reportedly on its way, one could assume he won't be jumping at the chance to make enthusiastic recruiting pitches to prospective free agents this offseason. That would put his own reputation on the line with his peers. How can Porzingis, in good faith, endorse Jackson or the organization as a whole, if no progress has been made and there's no clear vision for what's next entirely in place?
Jackson was adamant about his ability to recruit free agents, but it appears he was wrong or misguided (once again) about his continued disregard for Anthony not having a negative effect. If the Knicks are going to sell free agents (young or old) on a vision of building around Porzingis for the future, they'll probably need to ensure he's on board and clear on it first.