Nearly four months ago, Kristaps Porzingis skipped his exit meeting with the New York Knicks over frustration with the club. Now, Porzingis sounds like a player who is optimistic about his future with the team.
"So far it's been tough in New York, but my journey is only beginning and I hope to stay there my whole career, so as a city we can have some fun and win some games and do something big," Porzingis said in an interview with NBA.com from South Africa, where he will participate in the NBA Africa Game.
"For me, it's now home."
That's a significant development for a Knicks team that hopes to build around the young quartet of Porzingis, Tim Hardaway Jr., Willy Hernangomez and first-round draft pick Frank Ntilikina. New team president Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry have said that they hope to add more young players.
Where that leaves 14-year veteran Carmelo Anthony is unclear. Mills said earlier this month that the club would consider trading Anthony if the situation benefited both the club and player.
Anthony, who has a no-trade clause, has been connected to the Houston Rockets as a possible trade target this offseason. League sources have told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski that Houston is Anthony's preferred destination if he waives his no-trade clause and is dealt.
Porzingis, 22, reiterated in the NBA.com interview that he'd prefer the Knicks keep Anthony on the roster.
"He's an All-Star, an incredible player and I've learned so much from him," Porzingis said. "There's still so much for me to learn from him. I would love to have him around and keep playing alongside him. But it is what it is. It's a business. If it ends, well ... I don't know, it's out of my hands.
"I'm really thankful for these couple of years I've been with him, just seeing how he works during the summer. It proves he wants to win and he wants to be great. I'm sure he'll make the right decision for himself."
In the NBA.com interview, Porzingis didn't seem to directly address his decision to skip the exit interview. Per sources, Porzingis skipped the interview due to frustration over the drama and dysfunction surrounding the Knicks (31-51). He had minimal contact with then-team president Phil Jackson after skipping the meeting.
Mills said last month that he had been in more regular contact recently with Porzingis, a 7-foot-3 forward/center.
Porzingis, who was drafted fourth overall out of Latvia in the 2015 NBA draft, averaged 18.1 points and 7.2 rebounds per game last season.
"Look, I was so happy when I got drafted by New York," he told NBA.com. "I was never worried about the big stage or anything like that. I've always enjoyed that. I can envision [a championship someday] and see it. But we're still a long way from there. As we get better, if we can all see that goal at the end and work towards it, anything can happen."
Apparently addressing the various offseason changes in New York, which included Jackson's exit and the signing of Hardaway Jr., Porzingis said "a lot of things were surprising and a lot of things were unexpected."
"We'll see when I get there and start working out with the guys. We'll see what has changed," he said. "It's hard to say with everything going on in New York, but once I get there I'll see things more clearer."
"We're going to have a lot of new guys," he added. "Every year is almost like a new year. There will be a lot of changes. I'm going into the season hoping we have a group of guys who want to work hard and win. That's what's important."
Information from ESPN's Ian Begley was used in this report.