Kristaps Porzingis: I wouldn't want to lose Carmelo Anthony

ByOhm Youngmisuk ESPN logo
Thursday, February 25, 2016

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Kristaps Porzingis has already lost his first NBA coach this season, and he hopes Carmelo Anthony's frustration doesn't lead to his losing his mentor down the road.

Anthony voiced his frustration this week with the spiraling Knicks sinking in the standings, and Porzingis said he hopes Anthony stays patient and remains with the New York Knicks for the long term.

"Obviously I wouldn't want to lose him," the rookie said when asked whether he's worried about Anthony's frustration leading to a potential change this summer. "He is who he is on our team. He's very special.

"And we need him to do big things in the future, especially for me. I love playing alongside him, so that would obviously not be something that I want."

The Knicks (24-35) have lost 13 of their past 15 games, a stretch that included the firing of coach Derek Fisher. Anthony was particularly disheartened after a 122-95 home loss to Toronto on Monday night, saying he had to "decompress" after that game.

On the five-year anniversary of his trade to New York that night, Anthony said "it's challenging to kind of stay strong and positive through all this" when told that the team has been through four coaches, three general managers and one team president along with dozens of players in his tenure.

Porzingis, 20, has been one of the few Knicks bright spots of this season. The rookie, who is averaging 14.1 points and 7.4 rebounds, has often credited Anthony with mentoring him.

"Carmelo is doing the right thing. He is being a mentor to a young guy," Knicks interim coach Kurt Rambis said. "And a lot of it is just Carmelo challenging him to be aggressive and confident out there on the floor. ... Melo has been great with him in terms of encouraging him to grow as a ballplayer to blossom, to trust himself and be confident in what he does."

Anthony is in the second year of a five-year deal worth $124 million, which he signed as a free agent two summers ago. The contract has a no-trade clause, and Anthony has repeatedly said how much he wants to play and stay in New York.

But Anthony, 31, also wants to win a championship, and it appears he will miss the postseason for a third straight season with the Knicks.

"He's very professional," Porzingis said of whether he can sense Anthony's frustration. "Obviously we all know he's frustrated and we're frustrated. ... Inside, deep inside, you're frustrated but he's not showing it, so I think he's [being] a great leader right now.

"It's been pretty tough, but I believe all of this that we're going through ... it's all a big challenge to prepare us for something bigger in the future," Porzingis added. "That's what I believe in, and we've just got to push through this. And this is going to make us stronger mentally, so when we get to that moment where we can actually be a championship team, we're ready for it."

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