Boston’s attention has turned to Kristaps Porzingis, the 7-foot-3 forward/unicorn who the Knicks shockingly revealed they would make available in a trade centered around a high lottery pick - which they will presumably use to select Kansas forward Josh Jackson.
How eager the Knicks are to deal the Latvian star remains a subject of debate. If the Celtics hope to pry him away from New York, expect them to pay a steep price.
ESPN’s Ian Begley reported this afternoon that Boston already made a significant offer for Porzingis.
Sources: BOS offered NYK its No. 3 pick, a player & an additional lottery pick that they think they can acquire tonight in a trade for KP.— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) June 22, 2017
This likely ties into the rumor that Boston has spoken to the Minnesota Timberwolves about acquiring the No. 7 pick. Only Danny Ainge, who seems to be capable of pulling assets out of nowhere, would dangle a draft pick in trade talks that he doesn’t even have yet.
Apparently that wasn’t appealing enough to convince the Knicks, who reportedly countered with an offer of their own. According to RealGM, the Knicks asked for the No. 3 overall pick in the 2017 draft, the Brooklyn Nets' pick in 2018 along with Jaylen Brown and Jae Crowder from the Boston Celtics in exchange for Kristaps Porzingis.
So far the Celtics have been reluctant to meet that staggering price tag. Not that you can blame them. Not only would they be giving up a solid starter on a bargain contract in Crowder, Boston would essentially be giving away their entire haul from the Brooklyn Nets heist. If the Knicks ask for James Young too, that’s a deal breaker.
Porzingis is an outstanding talent. An enormous shot blocking, three point shooting monster who could become the cornerstone of the next great Celtics championship team. He’s the type of player that Ainge should be going all in for.
Well, almost all in. Few NBA general managers value their assets as much as Ainge, who is well aware of the value he holds. He’s not going to make a lopsided deal for the sake of adding a star player when there are other avenues to find one.
On the other side, Phil Jackson is said to be “dug in” on his demands and won’t deal Porzingis unless he gets exactly what he wants. Which is exactly what he should do. It’s a bit baffling that the Knicks are putting Porzingis on the table to begin with, but as long as they are entertaining the idea then the Celtics should continue to pursue it.
If the Celtics want to get this deal done they should offer the No. 3 pick along with the future Lakers/Philly pick they obtained by trading down from the top spot, plus their own 2018 pick and Crowder. That’s a massive haul, yet one that the Celtics can stomach much easier than what the Knicks asked for.
At least the two sides appear to be still talking, providing optimism that some middle ground can be found. Boston has been tied to a number of trade and free agency rumors lately, all of which have the potential to help this team reach the next step. Even if they stand pat and draft a player with the No. 3 pick tonight they are still moving in the right direction.
Ainge has several options in front of him and it remains to be seen which path he desires most. Based on his talent, age and contract, Porzingis would be my top choice. Based on the assets the Celtics can offer, Boston may be the top choice of the Knicks to make a deal with. Now it’s just a matter of if the Celtics are willing to meet the asking price.
Source familiar with the talks between NYK & BOS told ESPN that NY's demands for Porzingis are "ridiculous" ... https://t.co/k25yeNlLEp— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) June 22, 2017
Also, I'm told that the Celtics and Knicks haven't had any sort of progressing talks. They last spoke this morning and haven't revisited.— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) June 22, 2017
NBA source with knowledge of talks says 1) Phil's asking price is very high for Porzingis and 2) doesn't think anything happens w #Celtics— gary washburn (@GwashburnGlobe) June 22, 2017
At four minutes before we go on the air for our Draft17 Preview Show (5-7 on @NBATV), there is no Cs-Knicks deal in place for Porzingis.— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) June 22, 2017
With less than three hours until the draft, you can take every rumor and report as either smoke proving there’s fire or smoke adding to a smokescreen.