The Knicks didn’t give Kristaps Porzingis a contract extension last summer. They’re reportedly refusing to play him this season, even if he recovers from a torn ACL. They’re an NBA-worst 10-40 and tanking toward a high draft pick.
All that might be logical for building the best team long-term.
It also has consequences.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
Former Knicks president Phil Jackson and former Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek previously alienated Porzingis. Though New York fired Jackson and Hornacek and professed commitment to Porzingis, bitterness might still linger. Porzingis’ name coming up in Anthony Davis trade rumors probably doesn’t inspire a bond with the new regime.
I’m just not sure what Porzingis will do about it.
He’ll be a restricted free agent next summer, meaning the Knicks can match any offer sheet he receives. He could sign a $4,485,665 qualifying offer to become an unrestricted free agent in 2020, but that’d be a huge risk – especially for someone with his injury history.
Even if the Knicks won’t offer a fully guaranteed max contract that projects to be worth $158 million over five years, Porzingis could surely command a max offer sheet that projects to be worth $117 million over four year elsewhere. New York would likely match that, keeping Porzingis there long-term.
So, it’s in his best interest to find common ground with the Knicks. Or express so much unhappiness they want to move him, maybe for Davis.