Kristaps Porzingis will be eligible for a contract extension during the summer of 2018. New York Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek discussed the thought process.
For all of the outside speculation and spineless fear of the player leaving, Kristaps Porzingis will likely be playing for the New York Knicks beyond the 2018-19 season. He’ll be a restricted free agent in 2019, meaning the Knicks will have the right to match any contract offer he receives.
As the Knicks prepare for the 2018 offseason, however, one possibility continues to surface: Extending Porzingis before he can enter free agency.
It didn’t take very long for Porzingis to establish that he would become the face of the franchise. A dynamic scorer who’s already displaying elite value on the defensive end of the floor, Porzingis is the franchise’s first legitimate two-way star since Patrick Ewing.
According to Ian Begley of ESPN New York, head coach Jeff Hornacek acknowledged Porzingis’ contract situation and what the plan might be for re-signing him.
“I think we’re in a good position maybe not for next year, but the year after when somebody like KP, who’s up for the extension, that’s when you can kind of go over the cap and get a free agent in there and still have him.”
The Knicks have an eye on the 2019 period of free agency, which makes the potential decision about Porzingis’ future one of even greater importance.
Porzingis’ contract situation was complicated when the 7’3″ Unicorn suffered a torn ACL in his left knee in February of 2018. The injury will likely keep him sidelined until midway through the 2017-18 campaign, which could have an impact on potential extension negotiations.
Nevertheless, there aren’t many who have even considered the possibility of opting against re-signing Porzingis in 2019.
The only question at this point is whether the Knicks should extend him beforehand or wait to re-sign him in 2019.
It’s worth noting that New York could create as much as an additional $10 million in cap space if it waits until next summer to extend Porzingis. That would require passing on the opportunity to extend him this offseason, but it could instead play the market by opting against doing so in 2018.
That creates the age-old question of what matters more to a front office: Building a team that the star player can win with or placating said individual with a heftier new contract?