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Knicks president: Kristaps Porzingis said he would return to Europe if he wasn't traded

Eric He
Yahoo Sports Contributor
Kristaps Porzingis demanded a trade or threatened to return to Europe, according to Knicks president Steve Mills. (AP Photo/LM Otero, File)

How badly did Kristaps Porzingis want out of New York? According to Steve Mills, very, very badly.

On Wednesday, the New York Knicks team president appeared at a speaking event and he revealed that Porzingis, who was traded to the Dallas Mavericks in January in a blockbuster deal, issued an ultimatum.

Mills said that Porzingis walked into his office, where Mills and general manager Scott Perry were sitting and said, “Guys, I don't want to be here, I'm not going to re-sign with the Knicks and I'm going to give you seven days to trade me or I'm going back to Europe.”

Mills added that they had started looking at potential trades for Porzingis in September.

"So fortunately for us, through that process that we're talking about at the start of September, we had a number of deals lined up,” Mills said.

In the hours and days leading up to the trade, reports surfaced claiming that Porzingis had expressed confusion regarding the Knicks’ direction. They wound up acquiring Dennis Smith, DeAndre Jordan, Wesley Matthews and two first-round picks from the Mavericks in exchange for Porzingis, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Courtney Lee in a stunning deal.

Up in the air

Porzingis himself has been embroiled in controversy since arriving in Dallas. He did not suit up at all last season due to a torn ACL. But he is the subject of a rape allegation that is being investigated by the New York Police Department and was involved in an incident at a Latvian nightclub earlier this month.

Time will tell on which team won the trade. The Knicks will pick third in the upcoming NBA draft as they look to move on from dealing away their former franchise player, who is just 23 years of age. The Mavericks, meanwhile, can pair Porzingis with Luka Doncic and create a formidable 1-2 punch. But whether that comes to fruition depends on Porzingis’ health and if he signs long-term in Dallas.

What’s more, the Knicks are going to be in the free-agency hunt this offseason, looking to court the likes of Kevin Durant or Kyrie Irving to play with whoever they draft at No. 3. And if Porzingis truly did not want to play for the Knicks anymore, they had no choice but to ship him out of the Big Apple.

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