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David Fizdale went on his Latvia trip to meet Kristaps Porzingis, establish relationship

David Fizdale, Kristaps Porzingis

When David Fizdale took the job to coach the New York Knicks and therefore inherited Kristaps Porzingis, he made sure to start his tenure by setting up a meeting with his star player.

But it wasn’t just any meeting at a restaurant in Little Italy around the heart of New York City. Fizdale actually traveled to Latvia, Prozingis’ home country, to speak with him. Fizdale recently gave an to a TV station in the European country to speak about how the meeting went, per Ian Begley of ESPN.

“The NBA is a small world and you kinda know people from afar. But this trip is more about getting to know him intimately. Know his family, know where he’s from, kinda get to see what made him ‘Kristaps,'” Fizdale said in an interview with Latvian television network LSM.

David Fizdale also opened up about what he and Porzingis discussed during the meeting, per Begley.

“We’ve talked about his rehab. We’ve talked about how we want to play, our style of play. Talked a lot about the culture that we’re building. We wanna make sure that he comes back strong and healthy (from his ACL surgery) and we don’t want to rush it. We’ve had some really good conversations,” Fizdale said. “We talked about the kids we drafted (Kevin Knox and Mitchell Robinson). I’ve tried to make sure that he’s — we’ve been in communication on every decision that we’ve made.”

Porzingis is a once-in-a-generation star. Whoever coaches him in his career has to make sure he is happy and also has a good relationship with him. Fizgale going all the way to Latvia to do that is huge.