The globe seems overly concerned with the idea Carmelo Anthony will leave the New York Knicks.
Don’t count Kristaps Porzingis as one of those people.
Anthony leaving makes sense in the minds of some. Phil Jackson’s future with the Knicks seems a question mark. With only a few years left remaining in his prime, the idea Anthony demands a trade and goes to team up with a LeBron James or a Chris Paul or maybe meets somewhere with Kevin Durant doesn’t seem impossible. As opposed to spending the rest of his best years helping the Knicks rebuild, Anthony could in theory contend for titles.
Porzingis isn’t worried, though. He told Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News he wants Anthony to stick around and doesn’t think it will be much of a problem:
I need to No. 1, to learn from him. And to win. We need him to win. Without him it would be much more difficult. Him leaving would be tough but I’m not worried about that, I don’t think it’s going that way. He’s been loyal. I think he loves New York. And that’s the most important thing.
He went on to say he expects to train with Anthony and others this summer:
Definitely (improving my post game is important). I have a great guy to learn from, Carmelo Anthony. So I’ll be working out with him probably in the summer. I’ll try to find the right people to work with, to learn more and maybe an ex-NBA player who is really good in the post, somebody I can find who can help me with that. Put in the work, come back next season better.
Porzingis has had a monster rookie season after some initial backlash during the draft, posting averages of 14.3 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game. With what seems like a snap of the fingers, he’s gone from project player to a franchise prospect the front office will build around for years to come.
The Latvia native probably has the right idea here. It doesn’t make much sense for Anthony to ditch one of the biggest markets in the world, not now after he’s come so far in helping the rebuild along. While this season turned into a disaster after at first looking like a playoff berth was possible, the Knicks look like one of the biggest potential players on the upcoming market this summer. Hunting for a star point guard and another strong role player would make the Knicks perennial playoff contenders in the Eastern Conference at worst.
Anthony has made it clear he wants to see the Knicks make some moves this summer and it’s impossible to imagine the front office will ignore his requests. Outside of that, he’s shown no sign he would want to leave the Knicks, continuing to prove himself loyal and one of the quieter superstars despite the iffy situation.
So Porzingis doesn’t seem to have to worry much about Anthony leaving the team anytime soon.
What he doesn’t mention, of course, is his stellar play is a big reason Anthony isn’t looking for a way out.