Kristaps Porzingis gets the mentor he’s been dreaming of
Kristaps Porzingis had extra motivation to head to Africa for the NBA’s promotional tour. Dirk Nowitzki was going, too — a late addition.
Finally, the two European power-forward stars got a chance to work out together, which the 7-foot-3 Latvian had hoped to accomplish since the summer before his rookie year. The pair’s plans to work out last summer got scratched.
This morning, Porzingis posted a picture of himself and Nowitzki performing shooting drills. Porzingis has talked often about patterning his game after the great Nowitzki – down to an attempt at using his trademark, one-legged fadeaway on occasion.
In an email to The Post Thursday, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said that Nowitzki didn’t consult with him.
“Dirk is an adult,” Cuban wrote. “He didn’t need my permission.”
Cuban said during the season he wasn’t crazy about the idea of the duo working out, but indicated he was sort of joking.
“I’m sure it will help me out and improve my game, hopefully, unless Mark Cuban says no,’’ Porzingis told The Post in March. “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.”
In January, when asked about the duo working out, Cuban said, “F–k no. You know how much money I pay Dirk? Unless he teaches him how to shoot like me, then I’ll be really excited about it.”
Asked if he was joking, the “Shark Tank’’ star said, “Take me literally but not seriously.’’
The German, considered the greatest European to play in the NBA, is nearing the end of his career and may retire after this season. Last month the 13-time All-Star signed a two-year, $10 million deal to stay with Dallas, but the second year is a team option.
Nowitzki became the sixth player to pass the 30,000-point milestone last season – scoring all his points with Dallas.
“I am a huge fan of his game,’’ Nowitzki said early last season of Porzingis. “Obviously the sky is the limit for him. He’s got the deep ball. He’s got the in-between game. He is working on his post-ups. He is the real deal.”
In visiting Africa and conducting clinics, Porzingis is taking a respite from the Latvian training camp as his country starts the European Championships in three weeks.
Porzingis turned 22 Wednesday and told the league’s website he wanted to be a Knick “my whole career’’ – which would follow in Nowitzki’s footsteps in playing for just one NBA team.