Sources: Phil Jackson weighing possibility of trading Kristaps Porzingis

Adrian Wojnarowski
The Vertical
Kristaps Porzingis was drafted No. 4 overall in 2015 and has played two seasons with the Knicks. (AP)

New York Knicks president Phil Jackson is weighing the possibility of trading Kristaps Porzingis, an idea that’s inspired a frenzy of suitors across the NBA, league sources told The Vertical.

To that possibility, Jackson had a dinner meeting with Arizona forward Lauri Markkanen on Monday night in New York, league sources told The Vertical. Jackson considers Markkanen, a 7-foot jump-shooting forward, a replacement for Porzingis and is considering selecting him with the team’s No. 8 overall pick in Thursday’s NBA draft.

The Knicks are poised to begin listening to rival teams’ pitches on potential Porzingis deals, league sources said.

Around the NBA, the possibility of Jackson trading Porzingis, a uniquely talented and wildly popular 7-foot-3 player, has been met with bewilderment by rival executives eager to make a deal with New York. Since Porzingis – frustrated with the level of dysfunction within the franchise – skipped his season-ending exit meeting, the Knicks haven’t made an attempt to reach or visit him in Europe this summer, league sources told The Vertical.

Porzingis remains determined to play for the Knicks and see his tenure through to success, sources said, but it has become clearer that Jackson has become increasingly intrigued with testing the trade market for Porzingis. The Knicks haven’t been engaging with teams on Porzingis, but that possibility is becoming more intriguing to Jackson between now and Thursday’s draft, league sources said.

New York is determined to acquire a frontline guard, something that a trade for Porzingis could gain for them. Nevertheless, there’s tremendous backlash among Knicks fans over the possibility of trading such a gifted and popular young player, and it’s unclear how that will impact ownership or Jackson’s plans on the matter.

Porzingis, 21, was the No. 4 overall pick in the 2015 NBA draft. He’s averaged 16.1 points and 7.3 rebounds in his two seasons with the Knicks.

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