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Kristaps Porzingis learned a valuable lesson on Twitter over the weekend

Kristaps Porzingis got everyone thinking. (AP)

From the owner to the president of basketball operations to the coach to the star to the franchise player in waiting to everyone else on the team, the 2016-17 New York Knicks have been a mess of an organization from start to finish. So, it only makes sense, almost a month after their season ended, they’ve managed to keep themselves in the headlines with a strange late-night weekend tweet storm.

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You see, Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis, spending his offseason in Europe, matter-of-factly tweeted, and then deleted, “LA Clippers,” with three smiley-face emojis around 2 a.m. his time on Friday night. That was roughly 8 p.m. EST, during Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinal series between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors, so it did not go unnoticed or un-screen-shotted, either:

Kristaps Porzingis tweeted, and then deleted, this ominous message on Friday night. (Twitter screenshot via @theScore)

Porzingis is that aforementioned franchise player in waiting. He also blew off his end-of-season exit interview over alleged frustration with the organization’s basketball operations, reportedly fueling a flurry of incoming trade offers to team president Phil Jackson’s phone. All of which led anyone who’s been following this latest Knicks saga over the past few weeks to link those reports with that tweet.

The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Chris Mannix reported in January that the Knicks reached out to the Clippers about a potential Carmelo Anthony trade, so it’s not out of the realm of possibility the Clips called back when it became apparent a younger, more promising trade piece might be available. Even if that trade couldn’t be completed now. At least that was the thinking after Porzingis’ tweet.

After all, why would a player on the Knicks send a tweet about the Clippers on a random Friday night? Porzingis attempted to explain on Saturday, some 18 hours later, naturally via a few more tweets:

He was hacked. This, of course, is a go-to response for professional athletes whose social media accounts produce headline-inducing material. So, Porzingis provided decent evidence that he could not have possibly sent that tweet, illustrating that, while he does frequently use the “see no evil,” middle finger and multiple smiley-face emojis, among others, he doesn’t use that smiley-face emoji:

On one hand, as The Ringer’s Jason Concepcion expertly pointed out, there are many ways Porzingis could have both sent the “Clippers” tweet and not have that smiley face listed in his “frequently used” emoji options. On the other, “Porzingis isn’t the only person who has permission to tweet onto his account, and the handlers were looking into how the account was accessed,” per the New York Post.

Regardless, it does seem strange that whoever sent the tweet almost immediately deleted it and Porzingis employed the hacking excuse nearly a full day later. Inciting a vague Knicks trade rumor during the Eastern Conference semifinals seems like an awfully intricate way to handle the hacking of an NBA player’s Twitter account, when the hacker could have typed anything to the 217,000 followers.

Even if someone else sent the tweet from his account, why write “Clippers” with smiley-face emojis if not to address trade rumors? This sent internet sleuths searching for answers, and they may have found one in Porzingis being a 21-year-old single dude on Twitter in Spain at 2 a.m. on Cinco de Mayo:

Let’s explain. Porzingis has been known to send emoji-filled social media comments in the direction of Los Angeles-based model Abigail Ratchford before, responding to this Instagram post in February:

With this exchange:

Kristaps Porzingis and Abigail Ratchford have eyes for each other. (Instagram screenshot via New York Daily News)

And not long after Porzingis sent his “Clippers” tweet Friday, Ratchford tweet-deleted one of her own:

Abigail Ratchford is either a big Clippers fan, a big Porzingis fan, or both. (Twitter screenshot via @World_Wide_Wob)

So, the theory goes, Porzingis might’ve gotten a direct message mixed up with a public tweet. There are worse DM’d messages to someone whose social media avatars all involve bras that an NBA player could share publicly, unless you’re a Knicks fan who’s been conditioned to think your team is crazy enough to trade a 21-year-old whose potential is clear to everyone including L.A.-based models.

Either way, Porzingis learned a couple valuable Twitter lessons on Friday night: Change your password, and always double-check if it’s a DM, unless you want everyone to think you’re headed to the Clippers. Which, if you were a member of the 2016-17 Knicks, is an entirely acceptable thing to do now, too.

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Ben Rohrbach is a contributor for Ball Don’t Lie and Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at rohrbach_ben@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!