Following Carmelo Anthony's trade to the Oklahoma City Thunder, Kristaps Porzingis has now become the face of the New York Knicks franchise.
The Latvian has taken the responsibility from the veteran small forward who finally agreed to a move away from the Big Apple by waiving his no-trade clause for OKC.
The 10-time All-Star endured a hugely difficult year with the franchise last season and, in particular, Phil Jackson.
The Zen Master did everything he could to force the star out of New York as Anthony recently claimed he would've traded him "for a bag of chips".
Ironically, it was Jackson who departed first as he was fired as the team's president in June following his willingness to also ship their prized asset Porzingis.
Despite the media spotlight on Carmelo, courtesy of Jackson's relentless efforts to get rid of him, he remained professional and dealt with everything that was thrown at him.
This didn't go unnoticed by his teammates as they voted him 2017 Teammate of the Year.
Porzingis praised the manner in which Melo dealt with all the off-court drama surrounding him and was able to just focus on basketball.
Now that he's been anointed as the leader of the team, the 22-year-old believes that trait is something he can learn from the former Knicks superstar.
"You could never tell that something was going on," Porzingis told ESPN's Ian Begley.
"He was always calm, collected - every day. It was no big deal for him, all the off-court stuff. And that's one thing I can learn from him - 'don't give a sh--' (about the drama). He was just doing his thing and focusing on things he needs to focus on and not letting anything else come in his way."
The power forward was speaking prior to his first encounter with Anthony as a member of the Thunder as the two teams faced off in the season opener.
It was the 32-year-old who was smiling at the end of the game last night as Oklahoma City came away with a resounding 105-84 win at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Carmelo posted 22 points against his former employers but Porzingis notched a game-high 31 points, along with 12 rebounds.
The big man even enjoyed a block on Anthony for good measure.
The duo shared a warm embrace on the court after the game and Melo stated that he's done talking about the Knicks and sees it as a closed chapter in his career.
But he was willing to share some positive words for the man who has replaced him as the franchise player in NY.
"Just to see that he's ready to take on that role -- he looked aggressive tonight," Anthony said. "He looked comfortable, felt comfortable tonight. I was happy to see that."News Now - Sport News