New York Knicks: List of guaranteed contracts for 2019-20 payroll

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 26: Mitchell Robinson #26 of the New York Knicks looks on during the first half of the game against the Orlando Magic at Madison Square Garden on February 26, 2019 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 26: Mitchell Robinson #26 of the New York Knicks looks on during the first half of the game against the Orlando Magic at Madison Square Garden on February 26, 2019 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /
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Before the New York Knicks enter free agency, they will have just four guaranteed contracts on their payroll for the 2019-20 season.

The New York Knicks worked to open their options for the 2019 NBA offseason. From the Joakim Noah waive-and-stretch to the Kristaps Porzingis trade that cleared Tim Hardaway Jr. and Courtney Lee‘s future salaries, they cleared the necessary space to sign two maximum contracts in free agency.

With those roster moves and how the 15-man group was constructed from the 2018 offseason and on, it left the Knicks with just four players on guaranteed salaries. For all anyone knows, some of these players may not return, so even more money opens for a landmark free agency.

This four-man group offers youth and potential for the Knicks, but what kind of contracts are they on for the 2019-20 season and beyond?

  • Frank Ntilikina ($4.85 million): The Knicks owe Ntilikina just under $5 million for his third NBA season and is currently the most expensive player under contract, which says something for the work the front office did to clear the payroll. However, the Frenchman’s return is hardly guaranteed, given the trade rumors of the past six months. If he returns, the Knicks have to decide on his fourth-year option this fall.
  • Dennis Smith Jr. ($4.46 million): Like Ntilikina, Smith also has a fourth-year option that needs a decision by October. Point guard is open, for now, unless Kyrie Irving signs or Ja Morant arrives in the NBA Draft.
  • Kevin Knox ($4.38 million): Knox is just starting his NBA career, and his second-year money is guaranteed per his rookie-scale deal. It would be an all-time upset to see New York decline his option for 2020-21. He has another option year for 2021-22.
  • Mitchell Robinson ($1.55 million): A second-round steal, Robinson is worth more than what he will make on a bargain salary. His 2020-21 salary for $1.66 million is not guaranteed, but it should be a foregone conclusion to stick on the payroll. A $1.8 million team option follows in 2021-22.

This list of guaranteed salaries may extend when decisions arrive on Allonzo Trier‘s team option and Damyean Dotson‘s unguaranteed money, but that won’t happen until free agency approaches around the end of June or early July, respectively.

Next. 2019 NBA Mock Draft as lottery nears. dark

When the offseason ends, the New York Knicks will have a full roster and a complete payroll picture. Some of this can develop from incumbent free agents returning. Others will arrive from outside the organization. Changes are ahead, and these young players under contract will no longer be the highest paid players in this group.