New York Knicks: No Kristaps Porzingis extension was the only call

(Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
(Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /

The New York Knicks won’t give Kristaps Porzingis an extension before Monday’s deadline, according to a report.

Kristaps Porzngis may not appear in a game all season for the New York Knicks, but he remains a topic of conversation for injury recovery and a contract extension, which the team owes him before Monday’s deadline or by the 2019 offseason.

The Knicks last publicly spoke of Porzingis’ future extension at the preseason press conference, and there was no clarity of their direction.

Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News previously reported “no indication” of the Knicks and Porzingis in progress on a five-year, $158 million deal. That will apparently hold up, as ESPN’s Ian Begley noted.

It’s a strategic move for the Knicks, which opens $10 million in cap space in 2019 for an elite class of free agents. Though, the work is not done to open space. HoopsRumors broke down what will still happen to potentially prevent them from having enough money to sign Kevin Durant.

Still, giving Porzingis nothing yet was the only move to make, with salary cap space ahead or not.

It’s now a wait for July 2019 when the front office can offer the Latvian forward the five-year maximum deal as a restricted free agent. Even if another team makes an offer, New York can match it and retain their star, but after all the positive public talk about this superstar, it would be a surprise to see that happen.

No agreement now should mean a smooth and swift deal in less than nine months, at least once the Knicks see if they can sign a max free agent or not; it may be a popular discussion, but there are no guarantees for acquiring someone like Kevin Durant. 

So, with everything done, including the removal of Lance Thomas’ non-guaranteed $7.6 million and a rookie-scale contract for a first round pick, it still leaves the Knicks short of a salary for Durant and other big names. It’s still over $30 million in available money, but at least one more salary must go.

The options are Tim Hardaway Jr. and Courtney Lee, both of whom have eight-figure salaries that run through 2019-20. The latter’s $12.75 million could hold more appeal since it’s smaller, and he doesn’t have a player option for 2020-21.

Still, the Knicks must find a willing suitor to take Lee money for almost nothing back or a contract that expires after this season. That’s no easy task unless an intrigued contender feels one piece away from a title.

However, this all moved one step closer with New York’s continued “patience” approach. There’s no rush to sign Porzingis, even with him potentially not playing in 2018-19 as a factor, ahead of July. In waiting, they opened a long-term avenue that can help sign a top name that reshapes the franchise’s outlook.

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Whether or not the Knicks actually sign Durant, Kyrie Irving or another marquee name, they at least planted the seeds to make a run. Consider it the first win of the 2018-19 season.