Knicks moving forward without Kristaps Porzingis' favorite assistant coach
- Author: Julie Sanders May 22, 2017,
May 22, 2017, 22:30
According to the New York Daily News, the team has chose to cut ties with Longstaff, a holdover from Derek Fisher's staff. Longstaff, 34, and Porzingis have developed a close relationship over the past two years, with the assistant coach, who was in charge of player development, even traveling to Latvia last year to train the young big man.
Porzingis is the future and the best thing that has happened to the Knicks since Anthony arrived in NY. Prigioni figures to step in as a developmental-type, similar to Longstaff, who worked under Scott Brooks at Oklahoma City before joining Fisher. Jackson tried to dismiss the story when he spoke to reporters at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago earlier this month and Knicks' coach Jeff Hornacek assured everyone that Porzingis would be on the roster next season - despite Jackson admitting that everyone, including Porzingis, was on the table for this summer's rebuild.
So the equation for Jackson is actually quite simple: swallow your pride and get Porzingis back on good terms so he can lead this team for the next decade.
The fact that Longstaff won't return could be Jackson's way of sending a message to Porzingis about who's in charge.
Players such as Porzingis, Willy Hernangomez, Ron Baker, Chasson Randle, Mindaugas Kuzminskas and Marshall Plumlee credited Longstaff and fellow assistant Dave Bliss with helping them with individual development.
It's unclear if the Knicks will replace Longstaff.
Porzingis' relationship with the organization was strained by the public feud between Carmelo Anthony and Phil Jackson.
Longstaff was one of the few remaining holdovers of Derek Fisher's original staff, but more importantly he developed a connection with multiple current players - most notably Porzingis - and went overseas past year to help train the Latvian forward.
It prompted teams to call NY and ask if he was available for trade, though nothing of note actually arose from any of those calls. In other words, Phil and Porzingis are stuck with each other for at least a few more years.
Longstaff was the assistant coach who was closest to Porzingis. Whatever his reasons, they aren't worth further angering the foundation of the Knicks' future.