The New York Knicks are 24-38.
After getting off to a decent start, they have simply fallen off the map.
To add insult to injury, star big man Kristaps Porzingis suffered a season-ending ACL tear. That not only essentially ruined any chance of the club turning things around this season, but also most likely will affect them next year as well, as he will be out of action for many months.
All of this comes on top of the numerous issues in the front office that the team has had in recent years.
Despite all of that, it seems like a couple Knicks never want to leave the Big Apple. The first member of the team to publicly express that was center Enes Kanter. On Thursday, fellow big man Kyle O’Quinn added his name to the list.
“I would love to be here for the rest of my career if I can,” the Queens native said after practice, per Al Iannazzone of Newsday.com.
The 28 year old is having the best statistical season of his six-year NBA career. Averaging 6.8 points and 5.7 rebounds in 16.9 minutes per game, O’Quinn has been effective and efficient off the bench for New York, shooting 60.1 percent from the field.
He holds a $4.25 million player option for next season and has not decided whether or not he will pick it up.
“I hope this is my best option,” O’Quinn said.
Growing up in nearby Queens, it seems as though the former Norfolk State star has a lot of pride playing in New York. In fact, that might be the main reason why he never wants to leave.
“Being next to my mom is the best,” O’Quinn said. “Being next to my family, you can’t put no measure on that. The reality is you couldn’t tell me I wasn’t going to be in Orlando my whole career. Anything can happen. We’re open to anything. But [staying close to home], that’s a question you know the answer to.”
O’Quinn’s path to playing time hasn’t been an easy one. He entered the season as one of four centers behind Kanter and above Joakim Noah and Willy Hernangomez on the depth chart after beating them out for the backup role. Noah is now away from the team and Hernangomez got traded, which gives O’Quinn a defined role for the rest of the season.
“I had an open mind to whatever happened,” O’Quinn said. “You go into the season with four centers, to be honest, you don’t know what’s going to happen. You go to practice every day and fight for your spot. I found a way to find my way in that role. … Not trying to say anything too good about myself, but I earned my spot.”
Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek made it clear that the team wants O'Quinn to return next season.
“Oh, yeah, we’d love to have him,” he explained. “When contract things come up, I don’t deal with any of that stuff. He can opt out. The decision is kind of on him. But he’s done great for us. We’d love to have him back.”
Hornacek explained the impact that O’Quinn consistently makes on both ends of the court.
“He was a shot-blocker, but I didn’t necessarily consider him this great defender because he was just trying to block shots,” Hornacek noted. “He’s worked on trying to get in front of guys and not always having to block the shot. A lot of times, that’s just as good. … Our offense with some of our plays, with his passing, we can get easy layups. His overall improvement of his overall game got him that spot.”
It remains to be seen whether or not O’Quinn accepts his option, but if he declines it, he will still likely have the Knicks as his top choice in the hopes of making more money or a longer deal.News Now - Sport News