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Rumor: Phil Jackson is open to trading Kristaps Porzingis

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What is better than one unicorn? Two unicorns.

NBA: All Star Saturday Night Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

God bless the New York Knicks.

The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that Knicks president Phil Jackson is “weighing the possibility of trading Kristaps Porzingis.”

First, there is a lot to unpack here. At this point, this is just a rumor, and a somewhat unthinkable one at that. Porzingis is one of the most unique and talented young prospects in the entire league so the Knicks being willing to trade him seems dubious at best. However, the Knicks and Porzingis haven’t been on the same page for awhile. ESPN’s Ian Begley is reporting that the two sides have not spoken since the end of the season. Porzingis even skipped his exit interview with Phil Jackson, a major sign that the Latvian big man is not happy with the Knicks front office.

It should also be noted that although Wojnarowski is the most plugged in reporter in the NBA, the two high profile people around the league that he does not get great access to are LeBron James and Phil Jackson. So it could be assumed that the source in this rumor is not coming from the Knicks, but rather from other sources that are talking with the Knicks. This doesn’t mean that the rumor is innacccurate, it simply means that the source is probably someone outside of New York, and the motivation for fielding calls on Porzingis might not be to trade him at all. Still, this is another in a long line of incredible rumors to drop just days before the NBA draft.

If truly available in a trade, the Denver Nuggets would make an interesting landing spot for Porzingis. At 7’3”, Porzingis has the length and mobility to protect the rim and guard wings out on the perimeter, providing the Nuggets with some much needed defensive improvement. Offensively, he is an elite three-point shooter on pick and pops and on catch and shoot opportunities. He is the perfect stretch four next to Nikola Jokic as he would keep the paint wide open for cuts, posts ups, and drives while offering a mismatch for every team in the league. No team outside of New Orleans has two 7-footers that can guard Jokic and Porzingis.

NBA: All Star Saturday Night Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Most of all, they would make one of the most iconic duos in recent NBA history. Porzingis is a household name in most of the country thanks to his unique game and being drafted by the Knicks. Both he and Jokic are as unique a talent as the NBA has seen in the last decade so pairing them together would make for must see TV for 82 games of the season (plus playoffs). Pairing those two together would almost certainly mean sold out Pepsi Center crowds, dozens of nationally televised games, and an instant jump in popularity around the league.

The cost for Porzingis would be steep, most likely including one of Jamal Murray or Gary Harris, along with a draft pick or complimentary player. It’s possible Denver could offer future picks, Juancho Hernangmez, and a handful of veterans like Wilson Chandler and Will Barton but a deal like that would mean the Nuggets would need to take back a contract or two from the Knicks, possibly Carmelo Anthony or Joakim Noah.

It’s just a rumor at this point and I’d be shocked if anything comes of it. But I am pretty sure the Nuggets are among the many teams with Phil Jackson on speed dial right now, trying to persuade the hall of fame coach turned team president into a deal.

Poll

What would you NOT be willing to give up for Porzingis?

This poll is closed

  • 47%
    Jamal Murray and picks
    (562 votes)
  • 25%
    Gary Harris and picks
    (302 votes)
  • 27%
    Juancho, Beasley, Mudiay, and picks
    (326 votes)
1190 votes total Vote Now