Knicks' Kristaps Porzingis 'excited' after call with coach David Fizdale

ByIan Begley ESPN logo
Thursday, May 24, 2018

All-Star big man Kristaps Porzingis seems to fully support the New York Knicks' decision to hire David Fizdale as head coach.

The tweet Thursday was Porzingis' first public comment about the head coach since the Knicks hired Fizdale earlier this month.

Fizdale has been highly complimentary of the 22-year-old since taking over as head coach. He said he wants to establish a strong relationship with Porzingis, who is currently rehabilitating from a torn ACL.

Thursday's tweet would seem to be a good sign for relations between the Knicks and Porzingis. The forward skipped his exit meeting last year with then-president Phil Jackson and then-GM Steve Mills over frustration with the direction of the franchise.

Porzingis is eligible for a five-year extension worth as much as $157 million this summer. Prior to his ACL injury, the Knicks seemed comfortable with the idea of offering him the max extension. It is unclear how the injury has impacted their thinking on extending Porzingis, who averaged 22.7 points, 6.7 rebounds and 2.4 blocks in 48 games last season.

Fizdale has made it clear that establishing a strong rapport with Porzingis is one of his top priorities. The new coach plans to make several trips to Europe in the offseason to visit Porzingis and his family while Porzingis rehabs his ACL injury.

When asked earlier this month on ESPN's NBA Draft Combine show about building that relationship, Fizdale said he'd take a 'step-by-step' approach.

"I won't skip a step. I'll spend a ton of time with he and his family," Fizdale said. "I want to hear their experience and what they see going forward for Kristaps and how I can interject and help him in any way become what I think he can be, which is an MVP-caliber player. Part of that goes along with winning. And I know that's what he's ready to do.

"So I want to make sure that they see, from my standpoint, that we're connected, that the vision is the same, that we want the same culture. And that we all have the same thing in mind, which is eventually holding the trophy in New York."

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