Kristaps Porzingis ‘changed’ and began acting like a diva in his second season
The New York Knicks saw their lauded prospect Kristaps Porzingis change into a diva quickly after his rookie season, showing signs that he was already the future of the franchise.
“He changed,’’ an NBA source told Marc Berman of The New York Post.
Porzingis would do puzzling things like parking his car haphazardly in front of the players’ entrance, instead of in the assigned parking spot for each player. During his second season, Porzingis excused himself from the Knicks’ annual charity Bowl-athon — the biggest season-ticket holder event the franchise puts in play.
The 7-foot-3 unicorn also had no problem telling former head coach Jeff Hornacek “F**k you” after the helmsman asked for more effort on the defensive end of the floor.
Prior to his rookie season, Porzingis was invited as a guest for the U.S. Open, to cheer on Latvian players. Fast forward another September, and Porzingis’ camp asked for tickets again, only to request a wild amount of free seats this time. When the USTA couldn’t make that accommodation, Porzingis canceled.
Porzingis infamously blew off his exit interview in April 2017, one that came with the chagrin of former president of basketball operations Phil Jackson — which was considered the straw that broke the camel’s back. Porzingis’ brother and agent Janis Porzingis had been planning this for weeks, and Kristaps didn’t care to notify the team.
That was a plan by his camp to demonstrate his unhappiness with the franchise and the front office of Jackson and Steve Mills, who was then the general manager.
That blindsided Jackson and Mills — which was seen as the beginning of the end of the Porzingis era in The Big Apple.
The Knicks had already dealt with plenty of insubordinance from Porzingis before they decided to deal him prior to the deadline this year, a move that put the finishing touches in what the Knicks had considered doing for months.