Report: Knicks expect Kyle O’Quinn to opt out

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One reason the Knicks (18-18) are surprisingly in the playoff mix: Kyle O'Quinn is having a career year.

The center is scoring efficiently inside and from mid-range, cleaning up on the glass, protecting the rim and even distributing some (though that has come with more turnovers). Everything is coming together for him.

That leads to a question: Will O’Quinn exercise his $4,256,250 player option for next season?

Marc Berman of the New York Post:

The Knicks are under the impression O’Quinn, a Queens product who is on a modest pact considering his improvement this season, will opt out this summer.

Maybe O’Quinn, who would be a 28-year-old free agent, will opt out. There’s definitely a chance he earns a raise or at least a long-term contract that justifies forgoing his guaranteed salary. But it’ll also be a tight market, especially for centers.

I wouldn’t put it past the Knicks to portray O’Quinn’s opt out as more of a certainty than it is in order to facilitate a trade. Potential trade partners want certainty, one way or another, on those decisions. Teams could view O’Quinn as a rental.

Meanwhile, the Knicks could clear their logjam at center with Enes Kanter, O’Quinn, Willy Hernangomez and Joakim Noah.