Kristaps Porzingis made a lot of noise by skipping his exit meeting with the Knicks last offseason.
His brother/advisor amplified the concern surrounding Porzingis’ future – or lack thereof – in New York.
Now, Porzingis, who has only one season beyond the current one remaining on his contract, is trying to quiet the fretting.
Porzingis, via Ian Bagley of ESPN:
“I think fans know I’m here in New York, I love New York and I see myself as a Knick for a long, long time,” he said. “And I think they shouldn’t be worrying about that.”
Knicks fans shouldn’t worry. Porzingis may or may not be enthralled with the team’s direction. (Frank Ntilikina‘s emergence certainly increases the odds Porzingis is actually pleased.)
But the NBA’s salary structure gives him tremendous incentive to stay.
Porzingis can’t unilaterally leave New York until 2020. Even doing that would require him to reject a max extension next summer that projects to be worth $146 million over five years – or $175 million over five years if he makes an All-NBA team in 2018-19 – in order to accept a one-year, $7,514,414 qualifying offer.
I can’t rule out Porzingis taking that unprecedented step, let alone him signing a shorter max-salary offer sheet elsewhere (that the Knicks would surely match). But that’s a ridiculous amount money to pass up.
For Porzingis’ sake, hopefully he’s actually happy in New York. But, like every other player in his position, he’ll get his head around staying with his team one way or another.