New York Knicks: Predicting free agents that will re-sign, but way too early

New York Knicks Emmanuel Mudiay (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)
New York Knicks Emmanuel Mudiay (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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New York Knicks
New York Knicks Kristaps Porzingis (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images) /

Kristaps Porzingis

It ends with Kristaps Porzingis, who’s a foregone conclusion to return to the New York Knicks, barring a catastrophic event. The organization did not extend him in the allotted, pre-Halloween period, but he will enter the 2019 offseason as a restricted free agent; the Knicks can match any offer sheet he signs.

As New York’s own free agent, Porzingis can return on a maximum-salary, five-year deal. That’s one more year, and more cash, than anyone else may offer.

However, Porzingis remains on the shelf to recover from a torn left ACL. Suffered in February, 2018, it’s still unknown if he will play at all this season.

As the Knicks continue to lose games, fans may not see the dubbed “Unicorn” play until next October, when the 2019-20 season starts. It’s when the team may head towards meaningful games, pending how the roster transforms over the summer.

Playing too soon opens the possibility of injury-reaggravation, and the Knicks have no reason to rush him back. Allowing him 20 months to heal is ample time, including using the summer to return to playing shape via workouts.

Sitting out 2018-19 is a cautious approach for Porzingis, too, so he still earns that max deal. Reinjuring the knee, like Isaiah Thomas with his hip, could cost him millions of dollars.

Either way, it would be a surprise for the Knicks to not re-sign Porzingis and reinsert him as the face of the franchise.

Prediction: Porzingis re-signs as restricted free agent

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As of 28 games played, which players hold the best chances of staying with the Knicks? Who are candidates to depart in free agency?