The New York Knicks are willing to give Kristaps Porzingis as much time as he needs to get back to 100 percent as they know how important he is to their future.
The 23-year-old is currently recovering from a torn ACL and is not expected to make a return before the New Year.
But the Knicks have not ruled out the possibility of shutting him down for the entire season.
The power forward is the cornerstone of the franchise and the player they're aiming to build around for years to come.
At a recent preseason event with season ticket holders, president Steve Mills said that although Porzingis is back in New York, they won't be rushing him back onto the court.
With his best years still ahead of him, they want to take a cautious approach with the young star and avoid any further problems.
"Our goal is not to do anything that jeopardises KP's future as being one of the foundational pieces of this team," Mills said, per ESPN's Ian Begley.
"He’s back. We'll have some medical evaluations of him this week, and we'll start to develop [what] the right plan is for him, his plan to come back.
"But we're not going to do anything that jeopardises the future of this franchise. We're going to be consistent and stay true to that."
The Latvian has been rehabbing in Madrid throughout the offseason and has spent some time in his homeland too.
Before his setback last year, the big man was enjoying a career year with averages of 22.7 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game as well as shooting 39.5 percent from three-point range.
This production saw him receive his first All-Star nod but the injury ruined his chances of taking to the floor in Los Angeles.
With the Knicks unlikely to compete for a playoff spot, they can take a patient approach with their best player and use the upcoming campaign to rebuild and develop their young talent.
Planning for 2019
The team is hoping to acquire a marquee free agent in 2019 with the likes of Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, Jimmy Butler and Kawhi Leonard all set to hit the open market.
Mills believes the perception around the team is changing and they are slowly becoming a more attractive destination for players.
"In our circles that we travel and the people that we talk to, we know that there is a change in how people perceive us," Mills said.
"... We know that the players are talking about New York as a place that, 'Things are different there now.'
"If we do all the things that we're supposed to do over the course of the year, we'll be in a good place [to attract free agents]."
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