New York Knicks superstar Kristaps Porzingis will miss the most of the 2018-19 NBA season due to injury. Without him on their roster, the Knicks aren’t expected to make an impact in the LeBron James-less Eastern Conference next season. According to Marc Berman of the New York Post, Porzingis has recently returned to New York to evaluate the status of his injury.
In a recent forum, Knicks President Steve Mills was asked about Kristaps Porzingis’ recovery and if he will be available on Christmas Day when the Knicks face the Milwaukee Bucks. Mills said that there’s no need to rush Porzingis’ return, adding that their main priority is the Latvian center’s long-term future.
“Our goal is to not to do anything that jeopardizes KP’s future as one of the foundational pieces of this team,” Mills said Monday from the Garden’s Theatre. “He’s back. We’ll have some medical evaluations this week and start to develop the right plan for his comeback. But we’re not going to do anything to jeopardize the future of the franchise.”
Kristaps Porzingis is currently eligible to sign a massive contract extension with the Knicks. However, as Berman noted, the Knicks aren’t expected to offer Porzingis a contract extension to maintain their salary cap flexibility for the summer of 2019. The 2019 NBA free agency will be loaded with several NBA superstars like Kyrie Irving, Jimmy Butler, Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, DeMarcus Cousins, and Kemba Walker.
— Marc Berman (@NYPost_Berman) September 18, 2018
Pairing one of those superstars with Kristaps Porzingis will increase the Knicks’ chance of fully dominating the Eastern Conference. In the past months, rumors and speculations continue to swirl that Kyrie Irving and Jimmy Butler want to play together in one team with the Knicks emerging as their top free agency destination. However, aside from getting rid of Joakim Noah and his lucrative contract, the Knicks will be needing to make multiple roster moves to create enough salary cap space for two maximum free agents.
Also, Knicks President Steve Mills said that they will keep all their options open regarding their 2019 salary cap space. Mills believes that their own incoming free agents like Mario Hezonja and Enes Kanter will try to prove that they deserve the Knicks’ free-agent money.
The Knicks are also aware that one of the top free agent targets, Jimmy Butler, could soon be available on the trading block. However, as of now, the Knicks don’t seem to be interested in trading away young players or draft picks even for a player of Butler’s caliber. Mills said that they are going to build the team the right way without taking any shortcuts.