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Phil Jackson: Knicks fielding calls on Kristaps Porzingis, not swayed yet

New York Knickspresident Phil Jackson confirmed Wednesday night that he has received calls in recent days from teams interested in trading for Kristaps Porzingis.

"We're getting calls. As much as we value Kristaps and what he's done for us, when a guy doesn't show up for an exit meeting, everybody starts speculating on the duration or movability from a club," Jackson said in an interview on MSG Network. "So we've been getting calls and we're listening, but we're not intrigued yet at this level. But as much as we love this guy, we have to do what's good for our club."

Jackson was asked why he would consider trading Porzingis, a young star regarded around the NBA as someone a franchise can be built around.

"The future, you know, what it brings," Jackson said. "Does it bring us two starters and a draft pick or something that's even beyond that? [That's] something we have to look at as far as going down the road. We know what he is. He's a unicorn and he's special."

Sources told ESPN on Tuesday that the Knicks had talks with each team positioned in the top five in the lottery, trying to acquire both a pick and a young player with star potential in exchange for Porzingis. In particular, members of the Knicks have had recent conversations with the Phoenix Suns about a trade involving the No. 4 pick in Thursday night's draft, and New York has had substantive talks with at least two other teams who have called about Porzingis, sources said.

Iterations of potential trades with the Suns have includedMarquese Chriss and Dragan Benderin recent discussions, per sources.

As ESPN's Ramona Shelburne reported Tuesday, the Knicks would target Kansas star Josh Jackson with that pick if they could do a deal before the draft.

Sources also told Shelburne that New York engaged the Oklahoma City Thunder in talks for Porzingis, but as one source said of the Knicks, "They don't have enough."

Porzingis, 21, averaged 18.1 points, 7.2 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game in 2016-17, his second NBA season. He skipped exit meetings with Jackson and general manager Steve Mills in April because of frustration over the dysfunction and drama surrounding the Knicks, who finished with a 31-51 record.

On Wednesday night, Jackson addressed Porzingis skipping the meeting.

"I don't think I've ever had a player over 25 years of coaching, maybe 30, not coming to an exit meeting, so it's not happened to me," Jackson said. "I know it happens to other people and other players. His brother and his agent have downplayed it, but still, it's a chance for a person to express themselves, and I had a real good relationship with Kristaps over the last two years. So it was kind of surprising."

In 2004, Shaquille O'Neal skipped his exit meeting with the Jackson-coached Lakers.

On Wednesday night,Philadelphia 76ersstarJoel Embiidseemed to allude to the Knicks' situation.

Porzingis' brother, Janis -- who also works for Andy Miller, Porzingis' primary agent -- reiterated Tuesday that Porzingis loves New York and wants to win there.

"Despite how the Knicks are treating their players, Kris wants to stay in New York," Janis Porzingis said. "He loves the city, and he loves the fans and he wants to win with this team. If he's going to be traded, he's going to play out his contact and decide his future on his own."

A Knicks source defended the team's decision to consider Porzingis trades.

"Many of the people now screaming that Kristaps is untradable are the same ones who were furious when we drafted him," the source told Shelburne. "Remember: Phil and our scouts were the only ones to properly recognize his potential. And there's no way that we'd trade him now unless we got someone we're even higher on in return."

In what could be a sign that the Knicks are preparing for life without Porzingis, Jackson met with Arizona 7-footerLauri Markkanen on Monday. Markkanen plays the same position as Porzingis.

Jackson reiterated Wednesday that he believes it would be best for Knicks starCarmelo Anthony to waive his no-trade clause and resume his career with another team. He also said Anthony, 33, has expressed to the club that he would like to remain in New York.

"Here's a guy that's really special, a Hall of Fame player who's done a lot for our organization, and we know we value him highly and we know that the NBA does and other teams do," Jackson said. "This is something that is on the long-term kind of situational thing. We've expressed the fact that we've done a lot of things to try to put teams together that can win, and we haven't been successful, and it might be time for him to find an opportunity to go somewhere else.

"[Anthony has] come back and said he'd just as soon stay. We're trying to start growing from the youth aspect of it. There will be conversations after the draft and after free agency when teams start reorganizing their rosters."

The Knicks talked to several teams about trading Anthony before the February deadline, and they remain set on dealing him this offseason.

Jackson also said Wednesday that he has communicated with Porzingis -- though not by phone.

"I've reached out. We've communicated. Not through voice or anything, although I've tried to call," Jackson said. "Yeah, and they say no worries. He's working hard. There's plenty of pictures on the internet about him working hard and working at it."

A Monday story incorrectly stated, via sources, that there had been no contact between Porzingis and the Knicks since he skipped his April exit meeting. Team sources now say there has been minimal contact between members of the organization and Porzingis.

In addition to addressing the Porzingis and Anthony situations, Jackson said the club hasn't ruled out the possibility of re-signing free-agent point guard Derrick Rose, who joined the Knicks in a June 2016 trade but missed the end of the season due to a meniscus tear he had surgery on in April.

"That depends. It depends on how the order goes along here -- our draft process, our rebuilding the team, our money we have to spend," Jackson said. "So there's a number of considerations in that. We're looking at Derrick as far as how his rehab and recovery is going as we go along."

The Knicks are a combined 80-166 in Jackson's three full seasons as team president. He was asked during the interview what he would say to Knicks fans who are "uneasy."

"Well, I think, we know what we're doing," Jackson said. "That's what I can say to them. Although it's not been apparent in our record the last couple of years, we've grown from within. We've got young players who are on their move up. It takes time to rebuild with youth. And, I think, to have confidence in the fact that we're going to have good players and we're going to have a good team and we're going to be on the court, competitive."

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