BOSTON — There were rumors when Kristaps Porzingis was with the Knicks — and even later with the Mavericks — that he’d always be unsatisfied with not being the “face of the franchise” or becoming a secondary option.
A report even surfaced that Porzingis was against the Knicks signing Kevin Durant for those reasons.
But now in Boston, Porzingis is most definitely playing without the ball — and most definitely a step below Jayson Tatum on the star-power depth chart — and he couldn’t be happier.
“Maybe it was falsely pushed. I never felt that way because today’s league is, other than [Nikola] Jokic and [Joel] Embiid, it’s a guard league,” Porzingis said. “It’s mostly guards and small forwards. So I knew that if I want to win, you’re going to have to play with somebody.
“And it was never an issue for me. I think it was never an issue for me, it was always this narrative that was out there that — I think some of you guys that know me closer know how I am. And of course when you’re younger you’re a bit more cocky and arrogant. It’s just natural. You mature and get older and you understand things better. I never had a big issue at all.”
Porzingis, who scored an efficient 21 points in Monday’s 114-98 victory over the Knicks, was acquired in a trade by the Celtics in the summer and quickly signed a two-year, $60 million extension.
He could have entered free agency and told The Post he was open to all opportunities, but the Latvian never heard from the Knicks for a possible reunion.
He was Boston’s hero in the season-opening victory last month at MSG, and continued his success against his former team at TD Garden.
Porzingis said he takes advantage of the Knicks’ scheme to guard the paint.
“Just the drop coverage,” he said. “I probably could’ve shot a couple more 3s but [Knicks center Mitchell Robinson] did a good job of running out to me but not falling for any pump fakes so I think he did a pretty good job.
“They were guarding me better than the first game but still: I’m pretty comfortable playing against those kind of coverages and it’s a matter of finding the best shot.”
Tom Thibodeau actually has friends.
The basketball lifer, whose only marriage is to the film room, said his former college teammates at Salem State College regularly attend his games at TD Garden, including Monday’s matchup.
But their friendship doesn’t exceed loyalty to the green and white leprechaun.
“They’re the ones usually booing,” Thibodeau said. “They like me but they love the Celtics.”
Thibodeau was the captain of the Vikings, helping them to consecutive Division III tournament bids in the early 1980s. The Connecticut product became the program’s head coach in 1984.
Salem State is only about 15 miles from Boston. Thibodeau was also a Celtics assistant in the late 2000s.
“It’s always great to come back,” he said. “A lot of my teammates will be here [Monday night], so that part is fun. I haven’t had a chance to get back here as much as I would like. But I like to obviously do that.”
Just last month, a Salem State basketball player — Carl-Hens Beliard — was shot and killed in his car.
“I know there was a terrible tragedy there so my heart goes out to everyone that was there,” Thibodeau said. “But it was a wonderful school for me and a lot of special people, friendships that I have to this day.”