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Kristaps Porzingis shows love for Ron Baker after guard’s release from team

On Wednesday, the New York Knicks released third-year guard Ron Baker from the team in order to make room for rookie sensation Alonzo Trier, who signed a 2 year, $7 million contract with the Knicks on Thursday. Trier previously had a two-way contract with the team but such contracts only allow a player to be on a NBA team’s roster for 45 days before their contract has to be converted to a standard NBA deal.

Following Baker’s release, Knicks All-Star big man Kristaps Porzingis had nothing but love for his former teammate.

Knicks Film School was able to capture the moment:

“One of the hardest working guys I know. @RonBaker 620 nothing but respect my brother. Good luck!”

Baker, who attended Wichita State University, went undrafted in 2016. New York brought him on their Summer League team and, eventually, Baker signed a contract with the Knicks. He played 16.5 minutes a game as a rookie, averaging 4.1 points, 1.9 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game while shooting 37.8 percent from the field.

This season, Baker has hardly played at all (he’s only averaging 9.7 minutes per game) and is the last man in the rotation. He’s averaging just 1.3 points and 1.2 assists per game as the third point guard on New York’s depth chart.

The Knicks are 8-12 this season, sitting 12th in the NBA’s Eastern Conference. Shooting guard Tim Hardaway Jr. and  center Enes Kanter have been their leading scorers, averaging 21.4 and 15.0 points per game respectively.

Porzingis is still recovering from his devastating ACL-tear, and the team is giving him all the time he needs to come back and fully-recover from injury.

Porzingis told ESPN‘s Ian Begley in September:

“The return date, it doesn’t depend on me,” Porzingis stated. “I’m not going to be the one to decide. There’s going to be testing and some proof that I’m ready, (that) my leg is strong as before or even stronger. There’s going to be proof behind that fact. We’ll be moving forward, and a lot of the rehab process has been my feedback, how I feel, can we push more. And I’ve been happy with the process, how it has went, and with the team around me. We’re doing the right thing.”

There’s no rush for the Knicks, who are likely tanking to get the best draft pick possible anyways.