Sources: Celtics eye Kristaps Porzingis but Knicks' demands 'ridiculous'

ByIan Begley ESPN logo
Friday, June 23, 2017

The Boston Celtics have made trade offers to the New York Knicks for young star Kristaps Porzingis, per ESPN sources, but the teams have not found common ground.

One source familiar with the talks told ESPN's Dave McMenamin that the Knicks' demands for Porzingis were "ridiculous." A second source told ESPN's Jeff Goodman that the two teams remained far apart as of Thursday afternoon.

One offer that was discussed between the Celtics and the Knicks included Boston sending New York its No. 3 pick and an additional lottery pick that it would try to acquire in Thursday's draft along with a player, per ESPN sources. Several Celtics, including Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown, have come up in talks between the Knicks and Celtics, sources said.

Another name that has come up in multiple discussions over Porzingis is Knicks big name Joakim Noah, with the team looking to unload his 4-year, $72 million deal signed last summer.

Phil Jackson said on Wednesday night that the club was listening to offers on Porzingis after the 21-year-old skipped his exit meeting with Jackson and other executives after the season. A Knicks source told ESPN's Ramona Shelburne on Thursday afternoon that Jackson was "dug in. If he doesn't get exactly what he wants, there will be no (Porzingis) trade."

According to Basketball Insiders, the Celtics have spoken to theMinnesota Timberwolvesabout acquiring the seventh pick in the draft.

The New York Daily News reported that Jackson is asking for the third overall pick in Thursday's draft as well as next year's Brooklyn pick along with Brown, the Celtics' 2016 first-round pick (third overall), and Jae Crowder.

"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, and New York has had substantive talks with at least two other teams who have called about Porzingis, sources said.

The Suns don't think they have a good shot but remain committed to sticking it out to see if the Knicks will agree to an offer, according the league sources. Iterations of potential trades with the Suns have included Marquese Chriss and Dragan Bender in 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.

If the Knicks traded Porzingis, league sources believe they would strongly consider drafting Arizona's Lauri Markkanen with one of their picks on Thursday.

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' 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 contract 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."

Porzingis, 21, averaged 18.1 points, 7.2 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game in 2016-17, his second NBA season.

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