The New York Knicks have a handful of returning players on expiring contracts for the 2018-19 season? Who can hit free agency afterward?
The 2018-19 season will soon arrive for the New York Knicks, who made offseason changes to the roster. From draft picks to free-agent signings, new players arrived to wear the organization’s colors and become a piece of the next team to take the floor at Madison Square Garden.
New York kept some players from 2017-18, however, some of which will enter the final year of their respective contracts.
How many players does this include on the 2018-19 roster? What’s the potential impact of this and a potential departure in 2019 free agency? Note this will not include Mario Hezonja and Noah Vonleh, as they signed one-year deals in the 2018 offseason after time with other organizations.
Luke Kornet ($1.6 million)
Luke Kornet played with the New York Knicks on a two-way deal in 2017-18. Appearing in 20 games with one start, he averaged 6.7 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.3 assists on 35.4 percent shooting from three-point range.
Kornet spent most of the 2017-18 season in the G League as part of his deal, resulting in 16 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game on 44 percent three-point shooting.
Given Kornet’s 7-foot-1 frame, there’s the appeal of a stretch big man to give defenses a mismatch. He’s not as efficient yet as Davis Bertans of the San Antonio Spurs, another player with a center-like height that’s best from behind the arc.
So, in the offseason, the Knicks brought Kornet back on a one-year, $1.6 million deal. As Marc Berman of the New York Post noted, it was for his non-bird exception.
Kornet did not stand out as a candidate for a guaranteed deal, but for a familiar face, and with Kristaps Porzingis’ injury, the Knicks can keep him around past the 45-day maximum that a two-way deal offers. Whether or not the former Vanderbilt talent stays through the season remains to be seen, but he can provide depth when necessary.
So, for New York’s salary cap, the $1.6 million might not mean much, especially for a player that provides frontcourt depth. With the tease of solid three-point shooting numbers, though, could Kornet make it through the season and receive a raise next summer?