Former Knick Kristaps Porzingis Has 'Nothing But Love' For New York

Alec Gearty
November 07, 2019 - 7:09 pm
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Kristaps Porzingis doesn't hold any grudges against the city that ignited his NBA career.

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Porzingis is set to face the Knicks for the first time since he was traded to Dallas last season. It will be an unusual sight for the Latvian star, who spent the first four years of his professional career with the Knicks.

"I have nothing but love for the city of New York and the fans," Porzingis said. "They've showed me so much support. They're so passionate about the team. All I can do is look forward to what I have in front of me. Not behind. It is what it is."

Porzingis' exit from the organization wasn't silent. 

He missed the entire 2018-19 season as he recovered from an injury. As the Knicks struggled en route to a 17-win season, Porzingis reportedly threatened to return to Europe if he wasn't traded to a different team. 

In February, Knicks president Steve Mills said Porzingis' camp made it clear the 2015 Draft selection was not going to re-sign with the Knicks. He was set to become a free agent at the conclusion of last season. 

Knicks brass opted to deal Porzingis to the Mavericks in a package that included Dennis Smith Jr. headed back to New York. 

"I'd probably get in more trouble if I start talking about that stuff," Porzingis said, via SNY. "It wasn't ideal, but now I'm in a new place. I'm looking forward to the future. I don't want to go back too much and bring that stuff up. It happened. It's part of the business. It just ended up that way. 

Porzingis is thriving in his new environment. He's appeared in seven games to begin the season as the Mavericks enter Thursday's meeting at 5-2 — second place in the Western Conference. While the Mavericks have yet to experience the brute strength of their schedule, it's an ideal start for Porzingis, who averaged 19 points and 8.1 rebounds per game. 

Knicks fans won't have to wait long to welcome Porzingis back to Madison Square Garden. New York hosts the Mavericks on Nov. 14 in Porzingis' first game back to the arena that once chanted his name.