Booed at the NBA Draft, hyped as the saviour of a famous franchise, and still coming to grasps with the American game; the pressure on the young shoulders of New York Knicks draft pick Kristaps Porzingis was already huge.
It has only intensified today however with comments from LaMarcus Aldridge revealing how New York effectively sabotaged their chances of snagging him in free agency due to their faith in the Latvian.
Sticking to the plan
Speaking at the ongoing USA minicamp, Aldridge, now with the San Antonio Spurs, explained how Porzingis and his role with the Knicks was central to talks breaking down.
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“They were saying they wanted me to be more of a center to let their guy (Kristaps Porzingis) develop and I just wasn’t looking to be that,” Aldridge said. “So I was looking to play power forward, and they weren’t really interested.”
“If they’re going to tell me that I have to play center and I don’t want to play center, then of course it’s mutual after that. But before that I was excited to meet with them. I was interested,” Aldridge continued.
“But they wanted to have their draft pick play and I get it.”
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The Knicks' insistence that they wouldn't sacrifice the growth of the young European prospect by allowing an All-Star veteran to eat up valuable minutes at the PF position is admirable in terms of New York buying in to their long-term plan.
The long game
For those fans hoping to see instant results however the idea that one of the top stars in free agency was interested in joining their team but was put off by the fact a young player, who likely won't have a true impact in the NBA for a season or so, was going to be higher than him on the pecking order may irk them a little.
LaMarcus Aldrdige clearly doesn't hold any grudges about how it played out, he wound up with the title challenging Spurs after all.
Phil Jackson and Derek Fisher won't mind either if Kristaps Porzingis can live up to his obvious potential. There is the potential for both sides to end up happy here but at the minute it is only potential in New York.
Knicks fans: Would you have sacrificed Porzingis' development for a chance at Aldridge? Have your say in the comments below...