New York Knicks: Updated expiring contracts as season winds down

New York Knicks DeAndre Jordan (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
New York Knicks DeAndre Jordan (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /

With the 2018-19 season near its end, the New York Knicks have a handful of players set for free agency. How have they fared in the offseason’s prelude?

The New York Knicks sit 14-60 in the 2018-19 season. Not the year anyone planned before, and just eight games remain before the long-awaited offseason arrives.

Free agency will become the focal point, after the draft, as the Knicks prepare to watch most of their roster walk on expiring contracts. Only a handful of players like Dennis Smith Jr., Kevin Knox and Mitchell Robinson are under guaranteed deals for 2019-20, so about three-quarters of this roster will look new.

As the season winds down, who have made their case to stick with the Knicks? What about players who will eventually leave due to contractual circumstances? Let’s take a look:

  • DeAndre Jordan ($22.9 million): The Knicks never bought out Jordan, so his full $22.9 million will clear from the salary cap on July 1. Unless he agrees to a significant pay cut, it’s difficult to think a second part to this relationship exists.
  • Lance Thomas ($7.11 million): Only $1 million of Thomas’ 2019-20 salary is guaranteed. With the Knicks needing cap space for their free agency splurge, the veteran forward won’t make another $7 million next season.
  • Mario Hezonja ($6.5 million): Hezonja’s highs have infrequently accompanied the lows. There was that game-winning block on LeBron James, but defensive lapses and erratic shooting have stuck with the 24-year-old. Maybe he earns another opportunity elsewhere in 2019-20, but not on $6.5 million again.
  • Emmanuel Mudiay ($4.29 million): A restricted free agent, Mudiay can sign with another team, but the Knicks can match anything he receives. Whether they do remains to be seen, along with actually making the qualifying offer. Plus, Dennis Smith Jr.’s presence clouds the situation.
  • Allonzo Trier ($3.3 million): Trier has made an impression as an undrafted rookie, but his $3.5 million salary for 2019-20 bits into the available cap space. It’s a team option, but the Knicks only have so much time to decide on it.
  • Noah Vonleh ($1.62 million): Vonleh’s first half of the season was terrific, but he regressed as 2019 opened and into trade deadline season. Still, that the Knicks did not move him in-season is a positive and should keep hopes alive of a reunion in 2019-20.
  • Luke Kornet ($1.61 million): Kornet received sporadic opportunities, but has fallen back to the end of David Fizdale’s rotation.
  • Damyean Dotson ($1.37 million): Dotson’s money is all unguaranteed, but the Knicks letting him walk for fewer than $2 million would be eyebrow-raising.
  • Henry Ellenson and John Jenkins: Ellenson and Jenkins were signed to two-year deals with guaranteed money for 2019-20. Unless the Knicks trade them before their trigger dates arrive, seeing them both return, unless on minimum salaries or two-way contracts, would surprise.

Next. 2019 NBA Mock Draft, Sweet 16 edition. dark

Which players will the New York Knicks retain? Who will walk in free agency?