Adrian Wojnarowski: Kristaps Porzingis, who can become a restricted free agent this summer, has yet to make a decision on his future with Dallas, league sources tell ESPN. He expects to start the process of getting to know the organization soon. Porzingis will continue to rehab his ACL injury.
The Knicks get a point guard of the future in Smith, who had a triple-double at the Garden on Wednesday night, and should now have enough cap space for two maximum free agents — with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving squarely on their radar. A source said general manager Scott Perry and Mavs chief Donnie Nelson were behind closed doors at the Garden discussing scenarios when the Mavericks faced the Knicks on Wednesday night.
The Knicks, by including the contracts of Hardaway and Lee, will clear the requisite salary-cap space this summer to pursue two maximum contract free agents, while Dallas will be able to pair Porzingis — who is scheduled to become a restricted free agent in July — with its star rookie Luka Doncic.
Bobby Marks: Kristaps Porzingis is eligible to receive a $4.485M Qualifying Offer by New York this summer. While the Knicks have leverage, signing the QO would make KP unrestricted in 2020. Only 15 players have signed the QO with Ben Gordon representing the highest pick (no. 3).
Porzingis, sidelined for nearly a year with an ACL injury, can become a restricted free agent this summer. Increasing tensions on both sides could culminate with the Knicks initiating trade talks prior to Thursday's trade deadline or in the offseason to move Porzingis out of New York, league sources said. His uncertain standing with the Knicks has been the focus of multiple teams around the league, who've wondered if there would be pathway to acquire him, front office sources told ESPN.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Reporting with @ZachLowe and @RamonaShelburne: In meeting with management today, Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis expressed his concern with the losing, franchise direction and an uncertainty that a culture is developing that will enable sustainable organizational success.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Porzingis wants to play for a winner in New York, but is searching for clarity on his future role with the team and Knicks direction. Porzingis -- out with an ACL injury --- can be a restricted free agent this summer.
The other issue is the uncertainty over how enamored Porzingis is with staying in New York. That troubled at least one small-market GM. "You're going to have to give him the max," he said, "but if he isn't happy in New York, what are the chances he's going to be happy in Portland or Indiana or San Antonio?"
The Spurs are also viewed as a team with significant interest in Porzingis, according to league front office sources, though it’d be difficult for San Antonio to create enough cap space this summer. In any case, signing a max offer sheet would make him an unrestricted free agent in 2023 (or in 2022 if it included a player option).
As Porzingis continues to rehabilitate his injury, teams around the league are looking ahead to his restricted free agency this offseason. With the Knicks looking to create enough cap space to sign Durant, which will require renouncing free agent rights and trading either Tim Hardaway Jr. or Courtney Lee, teams are wondering what will happen with Porzingis.
Regarding No. 2, watch out for the Brooklyn Nets. Sean Marks, the team’s GM, is high on Porzingis, according to a source, and has a history of offering big money to restricted free agents.
At this point, the question isn’t just whether the Knicks should offer Porzingis a max contract but also whether he should sign one. Because the word on Porzingis is that he loves New York but is skeptical about the Knicks. And who wouldn’t be?
In between the extremes, there’s the Knicks offering less than the full max. Some around the league believe the team will try to include protections in the contract, meaning it wouldn’t be fully guaranteed should Porzingis miss an allotted amount of games due to a specific injury. Joel Embiid’s deal is structured in such a way. However, Porzingis views himself as a max player — as he should — and coming to the negotiating table with less risks discord, especially after letting it reach this point of restricted free agency. The Sixers extended Embiid’s contract before he became a free agent.
Knicks president Steve Mills was asked on The Michael Kay Show if Kristaps Porzingis is unhappy with the Knicks' decision not to sign him to a rookie extension. He said that wasn't the case. "We've been very straightforward in our communication with KP's brother (Janis Porzingis), who is his agent.”
Steve Mills: “One thing about my relationship with KP is that when he is unhappy about something or disappointed about something he's been very forthright in coming to me and saying, ‘Steve you know what? I'm not happy about this. And throughout this whole process he's been very excited about David Fizdale as the coach, he's been very excited about the players, the young players that we have. “
Steve Mills: "We believe it was the smart move. But primarily because over the summer, Scott and I sat down with KP's brother (Janis Porzingis, Kristaps' agent) and talked about the different options that we have in front of us as it related to his extension. We were clear that the best option to make the Knicks a better team long term and have a better group of guys that KP can grow with long term was to not do the extension at this point.”
Alan Hahn: GM Scott Perry today acknowledged decision to not sign Porzingis to contract extension now (leaving him to go to RFA this summer) was motivated by "financial flexibility" that "is created by that." Said both sides understood the math. #Knicks
Alan Hahn: Perry also added that Porzingis "wants to win, as do we" and "we both want to see a #Knicks roster that is going to be highly competitive for the long term." He said the team and KP "are at a comfortable place" with the decision.
Stefan Bondy: Scott Perry on if it's a risk letting Porzingis become free agent: "I’m not going to get into predicting anything about the future. I would just reiterate that I think as a group and we have a shared goal of making the Knicks a very good basketball team going into the long term.”
Mike Vorkunov: Today's the deadline for Knicks to sign Kristaps Porzingis to a rookie extension. The indications are that it won't happen. The Knicks will have an extra $10 mil in cap space next summer by waiting to re-sign him then. With no deal does Fizdale sense KP is on board w/ NYK future? pic.twitter.com/fzUP1I7dFK
Bobby Marks: Here are the deadlines for Monday: * Rookie extensions- 6 PM EST. * Vet extensions for a player with 2 years left on his contract. * Rosters set (DET, LAC, MIL, PHX and SAS still need to trim)- 5 PM EST. * Exhibit 10 converted to a Two Way. * CLE $2.5 and $1.3M TPE expires. Ian Begley: The Knicks are not expected to come to an agreement with Kristaps Porzingis on a rookie extension prior to today’s deadline, so he will be a restricted free agent next summer.
Knicks brass is paying off Kristaps Porzingis in encouraging words rather than extra millions. The Knicks have until mid-October to give Porzingis a $158 million contract extension but are not planning to do so.
At Thursday’s press conference, Knicks president Steve Mills and GM Scott Perry said Porzingis understands the predicament. Brass has taken great lengths to convince him he’s still “The Franchise.” ... The Knicks hope to re-sign Porzingis when he is a restricted free agent in 2019. That way, the team could climb over the salary cap. An extension now would take up precious cap room. Doing it next summer would open up $10 million in cap space.
“Our philosophy is that we’re going to stay connected with [the Porzingis camp],” Perry said. “It’s a long-term thing. Obviously you mentioned the point of the cap space in July. But we just feel like we’re in a real good space with him, as well as he is with us. And we’re going to do the right thing by him and this organization.” Mills said they have made it clear to Porzingis the Knicks’ orbit still revolves around him. “He’ll never feel like he’s not a cornerstone part of what we’re trying to do here,” Mills said. “He understands that. We make that crystal clear to him and his representation.”
Mike Vorkunov: GM Scott Perry wouldn't comment on whether Knicks and Kristaps Porzingis have had negotiations on a contract extension. So is he headed towards restricted free agency next summer? "We continue to stay in touch with Kristaps and he’s part of our long-term plan." — Perry
Ian Begley: There are more than a few teams who can offer a better package to San Antonio for Kawhi than the Knicks can (assuming they don’t include Porzingis), but people close to Leonard have expressed a desire for Leonard to play in New York, per sources. twitter.com/chrisbhaynes/s…
In an article published Tuesday, Janis Porzingis suggested that Porzingis would not decide to sign an extension solely because the Knicks can offer him the most money, fueling speculation that Porzingis would leave the Knicks rather than signing a rookie extension. Asked before Friday's game about the possible fan reaction to his brother's comments, Kristaps Porzingis strongly indicated that he planned to remain with the Knicks. "I think fans know I'm here in New York, I love New York and I see myself as a Knick for a long, long time," he said. "And I think they shouldn't be worrying about that."
He is eligible to sign a five-year rookie extension starting this summer that is worth between 25 and 30 percent of the salary cap (a projected $157 million to $188 million in total). If he wanted to become an unrestricted free agent, Porzingis would have to play his fifth season with the Knicks on a qualifying offer, which would be for $7.5 million -- significantly less annual money than he could earn via an extension.
Ian Begley: The Knicks picked up the 2018-19 team option on Kristaps Porzingis' contract on Wednesday, per the Real GM transaction wire.
He’ll be the youngest player in the NBA Africa Game here Saturday, where he’ll look to do his part to spread goodwill. Even more important, he’s anxious to do the same next season with the Knicks. “So far it’s been tough in New York, but my journey is only beginning and I hope to stay there my whole career, so as a city we can have some fun and win some games and do something big,” he said. “For me, it’s now home.”
Kristaps Porzingis' brother Janis Porzingis said the Knicks forward wishes to remain in New York but also wants the club to create an environment conducive to player development and winning. His brother made it clear that if traded, Porzingis intends to play out his contract and test free agency. "Kris wants to stay in New York; he feels at home there. There is no question about it. The only thing he wants is for the Knicks to create an environment where he can develop and grow as a player and win," Janis Porzingis said in an interview with ESPN. "If he were traded, he would play out his contract and head into free agency, where he can choose his own destiny."
Porzingis will be eligible to make 25 percent of the actual salary cap (as opposed to a previous artificial cap figure that’s lower). That starting max wage for Porzingis in 2019 is projected at $27.5 million, according to sources. In the old agreement, a fifth-year player next year would have started at a long-term max of $21 million.
April 19, 2021 | 11:00 am EDT Update
Just like when both Bryant and James won five NBA titles, Clarkson’s main source of motivation points toward collecting championship hardware. Unlike when Bryant and James both won Finals and regular-season MVP awards, Clarkson’s other source of motivation points toward becoming the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year. “If we’re winning games and we’re doing that, I’ll be rewarded for that,” Clarkson told USA TODAY Sports. “I feel like this is that time and that moment where I’ve impacted the game.”
“If the Sixth Man of the Year award comes and I don’t get it, I don’t need the validation because my teammates, coaching staff and a lot of my peers gave me that,” Clarkson said. “They’re telling me, ‘I respect what you do’ and all of that. So, I know that goes a long way as well. But it’s definitely something I want to get accomplished one of these years. Hopefully it’s this year.”
So after a regular-season loss in Portland, Bryant chewed out his younger teammates over their attitude, work habits and decision making. “I remember him just really getting upset,” Clarkson said. “You’ve seen him come out of his skin and grill us a little bit. But from that point on, I felt all of us had a different look at everything with what we wanted to do. That’s probably, in terms of development, a little wake-up call.”
“It was difficult, yes, because I would have loved to have stayed with a healthy Markelle (Fultz), and a healthy Jonathan Isaac and a newly blossoming Mo Bamba and a healthy Cole Anthony, but I felt like there was just something telling me I needed to shake things up. It kind of felt like I had one foot on the gas and one foot on the brake out in Orlando. “I was giving it my all, you know? I was giving it my all, and it was difficult, man. I didn’t know if everybody was pushing in the same direction.”
Organizationally, I asked? “Yeah, organizationally, in terms of the plan,” Gordon continued. “I think (Magic front office executives) John Hammond, Jeff Weltman, those guys are amazing people — amazing people, and very talented managers as well. But I feel like they got kind of cast into the revolving door out there as well in Orlando. So many coaches — five coaches in seven years (Jacque Vaughn, James Borrego, Scott Skiles, Frank Vogel and Steve Clifford). And it was kind of a different organization after the passing of Mr. (Rich) DeVos (in September 2018) as well. It was just a lot. A lot of uncertainty, an insecure kind of feeling. But I have no doubt in my mind that John and Jeff are going to get that organization back to where it needs to be.
“This year, we have high, high aspirations — championship aspirations,” Gordon, who clearly didn’t get the memo about those hopes no longer being on the table, told The Athletic. “We still feel like we have enough, especially with ‘Joker’ man. When you’ve got that guy on the floor, you have a chance to win every single night. So everybody’s got to step up, everybody has to play their best. But if we’re doing that, then I feel like we have a good chance to go as far as we want to.”
“He’s a genius, man,” Gordon said of Jokic, who is on track to become just the second player in league history to average at least 26 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists per game (Oscar Robertson is the other, and he did it just once). “He’s a basketball genius. That’s really what it comes down to. He’s playing it like it’s chess, seeing it three steps ahead. “I’m starting to learn that you’ve always got to keep your eye on him when he has the ball because he’ll find you. He’ll find you. Even if you don’t think you’re open, you’re open. He’ll pass you open, which is dope. It’s just amazing to play with somebody like that who can actually pass you open and sees the game (like that), and who likes to pass and enjoys passing.”
April 19, 2021 | 10:09 am EDT Update
Law Murray: A source confirms that the LA Clippers will not re-sign Malik Fitts to a second 10-day contract ahead of Tuesday’s game in Portland. Expectation is that Yogi Ferrell will take that spot pending health and safety protocols.