The New York Knicks are in the middle of a rebuild.
There’s no denying that.
With star big man Kristaps Porzingis presumably out for most (if not all) of the upcoming season as the result of a torn ACL, New York’s hope for a productive campaign in 2018-2019 probably isn’t very high.
While rookies Kevin Knox and Mitchell Robinson have looked sensational in Summer League action, there are a ton of questions that the Knicks need to answer before the start of the year.
First, what can be done with Joakim Noah's contract? How will new coach David Fizdale hand out playing time in a backcourt that includes Trey Burke, Frank Ntilikina, Emmanuel Mudiay and Ron Baker?
Since veterans Enes Kanter, Courtney Lee and Tim Hardaway Jr. are all making hefty salaries, will they play major roles once again, or will the focus be on developing the younger players? What about Mario Hezonja - will the former fifth overall pick emerge as a starter with a brand-new opportunity?
Judging by their complacency this offseason, it appears as though the Knicks are willing to look past the 2018-2019 season from a win-loss perspective and instead look to next summer’s free agent class.
The hype is real for "Porzingod"
General manager Scott Perry and president Steve Mills believe that Porzingis will be their building block moving forward and that he will be able to attract high-profile free agents to the Big Apple when he regains his health.
"I think Kristaps is going to be an excellent player in this league. I think he's gaining the respect of many of his peers around this league so we're excited about that," Perry said on Tuesday, per ESPN's Nick Friedell.
"Anytime you get the respect of fellow players around in this league, and we've heard that from around (the league), I think that's a good thing. And we feel real confident about him being an important part of our building process." Mills added, "When we were going through this coaching search, every coaching candidate that we interviewed, they wanted to have an opportunity to coach Kristaps and that was a big thing about why this job was one of the more attractive jobs on the market. So as coaches see the opportunity and what he can become as a player, I believe players start to see the opportunity of who he is and who he would be like to play with.”
In the summer of 2019, barring news of any extensions beforehand, a number of talented All-Star level players will be free agents, including Klay Thompson, Jimmy Butler, Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Love and Kemba Walker. Other impact starters like Jeff Teague, Eric Bledsoe, Khris Middleton, Hassan Whiteside and Nikola Vucevic will also presumably be on the market.
Therefore, assuming that they create the necessary cap room, it’s not out of the question that Porzingis’ dynamic talents can attract at least one, if not two, high-profile free agents.