While Kristaps Porzingis may have lost faith in the direction of his team, the Latvian certainly believes in Knicks assistant Joshua Longstaff.
In fact, a source close to Porzingis said the power forward wants Longstaff as an assistant coach with the Latvian national team this summer. It would be a relatively small commitment from Longstaff for the European championships – a tournament that only lasts a few weeks – and makes sense from the Knicks perspective to have one of their own monitoring Porzingis overseas.
An unconfirmed report from European basketball reporter David Pick stated Longstaff is already slated to join Porzingis in Latvia. Although that wouldn’t be surprising, nothing was finalized as of Tuesday eventing, according to a source. Longstaff had already been mentioned by Porzingis’ brother as a possibility to fly to Latvia for training purposes.
Longstaff is a holdover from Derek Fisher’s staff, having followed the former Knicks coach from OKC to New York. He also worked with Porzingis in Latvia last summer.
One reason for Longstaff to be on hand is to ensure that the rules are followed regarding practice restrictions for NBA players. The rules are set up so players can’t be overworked in their offseason, and Porzingis has dealt with multiple nagging injuries.
“I know about the existing restrictions, but need to delve more into the details,” Porzingis said at his press conference in Latvia. “I will try to come when I can, but won’t keep count of days. If there is one day too many, then I won’t focus upon that. I know that I will try to be with the team as much as possible.”
Following the request of the Knicks, Porzingis did not play with his national team the last two summers. This year, he didn’t wait around for their advice. He left New York this week after skipping his exit interviews, a move that underscored the strained relationship between team and franchise star.
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