The New York Knicks continue to test Kristaps Porzingis’ patience following their latest firing. The Knicks recently fired development coach Joshua Longstaff, who has developed a strong working relationship with the 7-foot-3 Latvian hoops prodigy, since he was hired as part of Derek Fisher’s coaching staff two years ago.

Latest test to Porzingis' Knicks relationship

According to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News, the reason behind Longstaff’s firing is still unclear, although Knicks president of basketball operations, Phil Jackson, already stressed that he wants his coaching staff – including the players’ development department - to be heavily focused on the triangle, which will make its return as the bread-and-butter system for the Knicks' next season.

The 34-year-old Longstaff served both as mentor and head trainer for Porzingis through his first two seasons. The development coach even went to Latvia last summer to help Porzingis prepare for next season’s grind. With just two seasons in the league, the Latvian jacked up his scoring average from 14.3 points to 18.1 points. He has also improved his FG and three-point shooting to 45 percent and 35.7 percent, respectively.

What Longstaff firing means to Porzingis

Porzingis hasn’t made any comments since Longstaff’s firing, but there’s no doubt that it will further test an already strained relationship between the player and the Knicks’ organization. Just a month ago, the Latvian staged some sort of a protest against the Knicks for their mishandling of Carmelo Anthony’s situation along with the team’s lack of direction.

Porzingis decided to skip the exit meeting, packed his bags and left for Latvia without meeting with any of the Knicks’ top officials – including Jackson.

Jackson attempted to mend the relationship between him and his budding star by reaching out to Porzingis’ camp, but his discussion with Porzingis’ representative, Janis Porzingis, only did little to resolve the issue.

The Latvian stressed several times already that he wants to continue playing for the Knicks; however, he also wants the team to lay out a concrete plan towards becoming a relevant team in the Eastern Conference.

Porzingis, the number four overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, is still under contract for two more seasons on a rookie scale deal.

If he really wants to bolt out of New York, Porzingis will have to play out the next two seasons and accept a qualifying offer of $7.5 million for the 2019/20 season. That will allow him to become an unrestricted free-agent in the summer of 2020.

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