In the darkness of this miserable Knicks season, Kristaps Porzingis at least sees some daylight at the end: summer workouts with Dirk Nowitzki, the freshly minted 30,000-point scorer.
The Porzingis-Nowitzki offseason workout plans appeared in danger on Jan. 25, when Dallas owner Mark Cuban said about their workout plans: “F—k no. You know how much money I pay Dirk? Unless [Dirk] teaches [Porzingis] how to shoot like me, then I’ll be really excited about it.’’
When asked if he was joking, the eccentric Cuban said, “Take me literally, but not seriously.’’
Porzingis, who after Sunday’s brutal loss in Brooklyn candidly stated the Knicks were in “confusion from top to bottom,” told The Post he hasn’t heard from Nowitzki recently, but assumes their plan for a summer session is on. Last summer’s workout plans with the German basketball pioneer were squashed due to scheduling reasons.
“I’m sure it will help me out and improve my game, hopefully, unless Mark Cuban says no,’’ Porzingis told The Post. “Dirk is a guy who can really help my game. Hopefully I’ll have a chance to work with him, a few days to get on the court with him and pick his brain.”
Contacted by The Post, Cuban said he won’t stand in the way of the Euro get-together.
“It was all in fun,’’ Cuban wrote in an email. “It’s up to Dirk.’’
Porzingis has unicorn skills that exceed Nowitzki’s, such as blocking shots or going coast-to-coast for a dunk. But the 7-foot-3 Latvian can only hope he one day can emulate Nowitzki’s scoring or reach the 30K benchmark.
“It’s an unbelievable achievement,’’ Porzingis said. “One of six to do that in history. It’s unbelievable – coming from Europe. What he did for all the European players who come in now. It’s unbelievable. It’s an honor to play against each other and hopefully a chance to learn from him.’’
Nowitzki also did that with just one franchise – Dallas. Could that be Porzingis, too? It’s not as clear any longer. He once had been enamored with New York’s bright lights, but his despondency has reached new levels during the Knicks’ massive collapse, cratering in Brooklyn.
“In the moment we were four games out of .500, I said it — I don’t see ourselves as that good of a team yet,’’ Porzingis said Jan. 7 in Indiana. “We were winning games, but we still had a lot to learn. It was a good moment based on our talent, but we weren’t there yet and now it’s showing. We got to figure this out and keep growing. It’s not coming together yet. It’s frustrating.’’
On Feb. 11, after a home loss to Denver, Porzingis said he wasn’t having any fun.
“I wasn’t enjoying basketball today — I wasn’t,” he said after that contest. “And I think that’s important for every time you step on the court.”
During All-Star weekend one week later, before he won the Skills Challenge, Porzingis admitted he had little on-court chemistry with Derrick Rose and that the Knicks had regressed in the triangle.
“We don’t really know it as well as we did last year,” Porzingis said. “We played it the whole time. We knew it much better than this year. For the triangle to really work, everybody needs to be on the same page.’’
The Brooklyn loss was devastating to Porzingis because he saw further regression in teamwork. According to Charley Rosen’s analysis for FanRag Sports, the Knicks didn’t run the triangle in Brooklyn as much as in previous outings, reporting the Knicks had 55 shots off 1-on-1 sequences, scoring 51 points.
“A lot of times it’s basically 1-on-1,’’ Porzingis said Sunday. “Whoever, myself, Carmelo [Anthony], Courtney [Lee], we try to make something happen and that’s not how it’s supposed to be.‘’
Porzingis then paraphrased Franklin Delano Roosevelt: “A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor.”
Porzingis, who will return to Latvia after the season for a long break, hopes Nowitzki will serve to calm the stormy waters roiling within him.