The New York Knicks’ process of team bonding is already underway, as newly-hired head coach david fizdale plans to visit his new star player, Kristaps Porzingis, in his native Latvia, according to ESPN’s Ian Begley.
The relationship between Porzingis and the franchise has not been fully repaired, according to Begley’s report, which means Fizdale will intend to make amends with the 7-foot-3 unicorn and start with a clean slate before he’s incorporated into the team’s plans.
Porzingis is eligible for a five-year, $157 million contract extension this summer, but his willingness to take up that deal will depend on his relationship with ownership and the front office first and foremost.
The Latvian international is majorly viewed as the team’s centerpiece and the rebuilding cog of this franchise, making this a bold and commendable move by Fizdale, who will likely have to apologize for mistakes that weren’t even his to begin with.
Fixing the rupture between both sides will be the first step in rebuilding this team, hopefully leading to Porzingis taking the extension, then building from there as the season goes along.
Porzingis is not expected to be available to start the season, but the healing process of his torn ACL is unknown at this point — which could range from a few months, to potentially the entire season, if the Knicks choose to err in the side of caution.