New York Knicks: Updating players on expiring contracts at midseason

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) /

Passed the halfway point of 2018-19, where do players on expiring contracts stand with the New York Knicks?

The New York Knicks sit at 10-33 entering their Thursday game in London, England. A majority of these losses happened after Dec. 1, which the team has won three matchups since, with a defeat to the Philadelphia 76ers as the most recent.

Amid this stretch, and even beforehand, the Knicks have featured players on expiring contracts in starting roles and down the roster.

These players make up the Knicks’ projected $29 million in cap space for the offseason. It’s a grand one, as Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Kemba Walker and others hit the open market.

Are these players leaving the roster gaining value, though? Let’s update where they stand after the halfway point of 2018-19:

  • Enes Kanter ($18.6 million): Kanter’s role shifted back to the bench in recent weeks. He still plays, but clearly, with Mitchell Robinson around, the Turkish center is not the long-term fix. The Knicks also have him involved in trade discussions.
  • Lance Thomas ($7.1 million): Technically not an expiring contract, Thomas’ has an unguaranteed $7.58 million in 2019-20. With his limited role, pre and post-injury, it’s difficult to see him returning at that figure.
  • Mario Hezonja ($6.5 million): Hezonja’s in the midst of his best basketball after not playing via coach’s decision for most of a five-game stretch. It’s helpful towards his offseason value and if the Knicks try to trade him before the deadline.
  • Kristaps Porzingis ($5.69 million): Porzingis will hit restricted free agency this summer, and he has yet to return from a torn left ACL. However, with a February re-evaluation ahead, the team may opt for an in-season return, per Marc Berman of the New York Post.
  • Emmanuel Mudiay ($4.29 million): Point guard is Mudiay’s job to lose the rest of the season. He broke out offensively, despite questions on the other side of the court. The Knicks have an interesting decision to make if he’s their future at this position.
  • Allonzo Trier ($3.38 million): Trier pops up because he owns a team option under this fresh NBA contract. Worth $3.55 million, it can keep him through 2019-20, but also open cap space in free agency. Trier has struggled mightily since returning from a hamstring injury, with 4.9 points on 30.5 percent shooting in his past nine appearances.
  • Trey Burke ($1.79 million): Burke’s role sits behind Frank Ntilikina, thus not guaranteeing him consistent playing time moving forward. With a questionable future in New York, and a cheap salary, he makes for an interesting trade candidate.
  • Noah Vonleh ($1.62 million): An effective transaction for the cost, Vonleh has outplayed his partially-guaranteed contract. He’s locked in as a starter, but with his Bird Rights status in free agency, the Knicks must use cap space to re-sign the Indiana product. Does that make a trade likelier?
  • Luke Kornet ($1.61 million): Kornet emerged as a stretch five after not playing most of the season’s first two months. It’s his main attribute for any NBA team, but as the league continues shooting an excess of three-pointers, will it land him a higher payday?
  • Damyean Dotson ($1.37 million): Dotson’s salary for 2019-20 is not guaranteed, although at 9.6 points per game on 36.7 percent three-point shooting, he should return, unless the Knicks trade him before the deadline.

Next. 25 greatest players in NYK history. dark

Just under half the season remains for these players to establish value before free agency. Who’s the best bets to stay with the New York Knicks beyond 2018-19?