- Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
The baffling Kristaps Porzingis rumors won’t go away and now it is starting to sound like a deal could happen on draft day.
Previously it was reported that the Knicks had been listening to offers for Porzingis. While that could have been interpreted as Phil Jackson and the Knicks just doing their due diligence, NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski is now strongly suggesting that the Knicks are being far more proactive than that.
During an NBA Draft round table discussion for The Vertical, Wojnarowski reported that the Knicks are actually calling other teams, “aiming for a top-four pick” in order to draft Josh Jackson out of Kansas.
— The Vertical (@TheVertical) June 22, 2017
If the Knicks are indeed looking to draft Jackson that would almost certainly mean trading for the third or fourth pick in the draft.
Most experts agree that the Philadelphia 76ers will draft Markelle Fultz at No. 1 and the Los Angeles Lakers will take Lonzo Ball at No. 2, with Jackson and Jayson Tatum going third and fourth in some order.
The Boston Celtics currently own the third pick and the fourth pick belongs to the Phoenix Suns. Both of those teams are believed to be willing to trade their pick.
Rumors have been rampant about what the Celtics would do with the third pick since acquiring it from the 76ers as part of the deal that sent Philadelphia the first pick in the draft. Meanwhile, Wojnarowski also reported that the Suns are interested in dealing their pick for “an established star player.” [Ed. note: that tweet has since been deleted. Here is a screencrap]
Porzingis just completed his second season with the Knicks, but he would seem to satisfy that criteria.
A potential deal with the Suns could come down to draft night and the Knicks making sure that Jackson is still available at No. 4 before agreeing to the deal.
In an interview with the MSG network, Jackson addressed the rumors, saying “we’re getting calls,” but that the Knicks “are not intrigued yet” by the offers they have received.
“We’re listening, but we are not intrigued yet at this level,” Jackson said. “But as much as we love this guy, we have to do what’s good for our club.”
Jackson went on to say that dealing Kristaps would be good for the future of the team, noting they could get “two starters and a draft pick, or something that is even beyond that.”
That last comment also suggests that even if Jackson is just listening to offers, he has thought enough about a potential deal that he does have a firm idea in mind of what he wants in return.
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) June 22,2017
Of course, anything can happen on draft day, but there is a lot of smoke to these rumors and it starting to seem like there is a fire somewhere.