Porzingis and the Knicks took the stage to answer questions on where the team is headed this season.
It was quite the day in Westchester, New York, with a slew of new faces and the glaring absence of a particular franchise small forward, Carmelo Anthony.
In the Knicks’ first Media Day since Saturday’s blockbuster trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder, the team management and players found themselves in a state of flummox, scrambling to adapt to a new environment without their franchise player.
Team President Steve Mills, and newly-hired GM Scott Perry were first to the podium. Mills kicked off the presser by stating that he commended Carmelo for his many on, and especially off the court contributions, and that he made a mark on many lives in the communities he worked in. Mills thanked ‘Melo, and announced the Knicks would be donating $100,000 to Carmelo’s hurricane relief fund.
GM Scott Perry stressed that once he took over the reigns, that he was working in a way to make sure both the team and Carmelo were accommodated with this deal. He spoke on the youth of who was acquired, seeing as both Enes Kanter and Doug McDermott are 25 years old. When asked about the clear logjam at the center position, Perry brushed off the question, stating much of that would be sorted out during training camp.
Perry was then asked the intriguing question of whether Kristaps was ready to lead this franchise or not, and Perry responded that the team would be holding Kristaps accountable as the continue to mold him into the leader he needs to be. When Mills was asked about the fiasco with Kristaps this summer, he says they’ll “spend a lot of time with him this summer” to bury the hatchet to make sure they can create a better environment going forward.
Kristaps was next up, where he wanted to make clear that the past is the past, and just wants to move on from last season.
He disclosed that he will miss Carmelo, who was a mentor and a big brother to him, and that he was thankful for their time together over the last two years. When asked if he would be an all-star this season, Porzingis replied with confidence: “I believe so.”
Tim Hardaway, Jr., Willy Hernangómez, Joakim Noah, and new Knicks Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott, and Frank Ntilikina also spoke, with Joakim Noah being the most candid player to speak, per the usual.
Hardaway only spoke of his improvements since his first stint in New York, noting that he had been “through the ringer” when being sent to the G League, being benched, and earning back trust in Atlanta. Says he’s matured a lot since he was first drafted here, both on and off the court.
Enes Kanter had some fun with the media, stating he was told by Russell Westbrook to “watch out for the New York media. I’m watching you.” Kanter wishes the Thunder well, and also believes the Westbrook will ultimately end up signing his max extension with Oklahoma City.
Finally, Ntilikina and Noah spoke. Frank believed that he would play well against a bevy of elite point guards. He knew it’d be hard, but he believes in himself. He was sharp, handling questions in both English and French. When asked about his own strengths and weaknesses, he said he believes he needs to get stronger, but his strengths are his defensive abilities and his I.Q. on the court.
Noah expressed disappointment over his first season in New York, claims he’s healthy now and that should make a big difference. “I got paid a lot of money to play here, I’d like to be at peace with that,” so he spoke as though there were a chip on his shoulder, with something to prove this season. This rings true now more than ever, considering he’ll be competing with three other centers for playing time. Noah was asked about social issues in America as well, to which he grinned and said “finally.” On the NFL protests, he stated “I think it’s great. We’re finally talking and it’s important, we’re talking about issues that are often swept under the rug.” He was asked a follow-up, on what he’d do to improve fractured relations. Noah, ever to the point, said he “would make it harder to get guns in this country,” and cited kids killing each other in neighborhoods around the country.
That wraps things up from Westchester, stay tuned for training camp coverage from The Knicks Wall!