In a way, Kristaps Porzingis' ACL tear has clarified things for the New York Knicks. No longer is management worried about chasing a playoff spot. Instead, the team's priority is the future. Young players are getting starter's minutes. Scouting for June's draft has begun. But there's another decision the Knicks will have to make after the season, one that could also be affected by Porzingis' injury. This summer the 22-year-old Porzingis will be eligible for a contract extension. Officially billed the designated rookie extension, the contract is only available to former first-round picks as they enter their fourth NBA seasons, as Porzingis will come summertime, and can only be handed to one player per team. The extension adds five years to the player's contract—keeping him with his current team for six more seasons—at a max salary worth roughly 25 percent of the team's salary cap, with the possibility of incremental raises along the way. That translates to five years and about $157 million to keep Porzingis in New York through the 2024 season. In basketball terms, it would solidify Porzingis’s status as the franchise cornerstone for more than half a decade. Of course, there are no guarantees Porzingis would accept the extension. His brother, Janis, who also serves as his agent, has said in the past that Porzingis prioritizes winning over money. You can't misfire on max deals in the NBA and still compete. No matter how unicorn-like Porzingis can be, the decision of whether to offer him this extension must be carefully considered. The contract shouldn't be offered solely because Porzingis is eligible, especially given his recent ACL injury. "He is obviously a very important member of this basketball team and this organization and part of this New York community," Knicks general manager Scott Perry told reporters after Porzingis' injury when asked about the extension. "We'll deal with at that appropriate time." But that time is soon. Here are the questions the Knicks should analyze before it arrives.
Knicks Can Lock Up Porzingis Through 2024 for $157 Million, but Should They?
Bleacher Report | Feb 26