Amidst the latest talk of Carmelo Anthony potentially waiving his no-trade clause with the New York Knicks, his young teammate Kristaps Porzingis had this to say about how things would be different for him if Anthony were to move on from New York:
“I think it would make life harder for me on the court (if Anthony was traded),” Porzingis told the Daily News. “He makes stuff easier for me.”
Porzingis has embraced the role of being Carmelo’s protege from the beginning. Learning from one of the league’s best scorers at the birth of your career isn’t such a bad gig.
But the time is inevitably coming when Kristaps Porzingis is under the spotlight as the centerpiece of his own team, presumably the Knicks. With ongoing rumblings about Carmelo potentially accepting a trade before the deadline in two weeks, that time could be coming sooner than later.
Carmelo currently exists as the inadvertent crutch for Porzingis when it comes to patronizing these Knicks. Many fans have expressed a desire to see the reigns handed down to their 7’3 Latvian treasure in preparation for the future. The key for Porzingis in the impending post-Carmelo era will be aligning with other trusted and accompanying talents, otherwise, he’s likely to suffer the same critical torment from Knicks fans as Anthony has (that is, assuming he’ll stick around for the long haul).
Porzingis was facing some pressure coming into his second season after a standout rookie campaign and with some new additions making the Knicks seem more built to compete. With the Knicks underperforming this season, along with Phil Jackson’s questionable leadership antics and the recent Charles Oakley incident, the franchise is in its deepest state of peril since Porzingis was drafted.
Inheriting the Knicks as is shouldn’t be appealing to any rising star. Porzingis clearly understands the burden that Carmelo Anthony has shouldered and how it’s admittedly made things easier for him.
Whether ‘Melo is traded or not, Porzingis will outlive him on the Knicks, and the day is coming where he will have to decide for himself just how ready and willing he is to take on the spotlight as New York’s next hopeful savior.