Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis is bubbling with frustration over the team’s collapse, Fred Kerber of the New York Post reports. Porzingis felt the roster moves made during the offseason would improve the team’s fortunes. Instead, the franchise is in turmoil and the club is no better than it was a year ago. He also hinted that the team shouldn’t have dismissed head coach Derek Fisher last February. “It’s different this year, definitely,” Porzingis told Kerber and other media members. “It was a big shock last year when Fisher got fired. I felt like we were working towards something and even though we were losing, we were moving forward and we had the structure, so it was a shock for me. This year, [it’s] a similar situation with our record and where we stand right now but we can’t be worrying about what’s going to happen.”
In other news around the Eastern Conference:
The latest knee injury to Bucks forward Jabari Parker probably cost him a lucrative rookie contract extension, Ben Golliver of Sports Illustrated points out. Parker, who suffered the second ACL tear of his young NBA career on Wednesday, is eligible to receive an extension this offseason and was in line to get a deal worth $110MM over four years prior to the injury, Golliver continues. Instead, he’ll probably enter the 2018 offseason as a restricted free agent and the nine-figure offers may not materialize for a player who’s had multiple knee surgeries and only three or four months of game action to prove that he’s recovered, Golliver adds.
Heat point guard Goran Dragic finds it much easier to ignore trade rumors at this stage of his career, as he told Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders. Dragic’s name has circulated on the rumor mill this winter, though that chatter has died down during the Heat’s current winning streak. “I was really nervous all the time. I was reading articles,” Dragic told Scotto about previous trade deadlines. “When I got traded the first time it kind of changed me because then I realized this is normal, this is part of the business. Now I’m not even paying attention about that, I’m only focused on basketball, because it can mess your head up if you’re not mentally strong. I don’t want to read those or even hear those rumors.”
Sixers big man Nerlens Noel is trying to adopt Dragic’s approach to the trade deadline, as Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer notes. Noel’s name has been tossed around, though the club seems more intent on moving power forward Jahlil Okafor, including a report this week that the Pelicans were in advanced talks to acquire Okafor. Noel is trying his best to block out the rumors. “I don’t even approach it,” he told Pompey. “I just play my game. If that’s what they decide, that’s what they decide.”