With the face of the franchise, Kristaps Porzingis, still recovering from an injury, the New York Knicks weren’t really expected to make much impact in the 2018-19 NBA season. While waiting for Porzingis to return 100 percent healthy, the Knicks are focused on the development of their young players and currently aiming to acquire a lottery pick in the 2019 NBA Draft pick.
Since the season started, some of the Knicks’ veterans, including those who are set to become unrestricted free agents next summer, have already expressed their frustration with the current situation. In a recent interview with Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News, Knicks Head Coach David Fizdale said that he understands what those players are feeling right now, but he reminded them that “playing selfishly” won’t do any good in increasing their chance of having a huge payday next summer.
“Win and then money comes,” Fizdale said. “And just play good team basketball because right now our success doesn’t show up in wins. But when we play good, hard-nosed basketball, where we look like we’re sharing the game eventually wins will come out of that. But people pay attention. These scouts, every game, I remember when I was an assistant: It was five scouts talking to me from other teams every game. ‘Hey, tell me about this guy. Tell me about this guy. Is he a good guy? Is he a team guy? Does he sacrifice? Is he a pro? Is he late? Is he this?'”
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) January 20, 2019
Coach David Fizdale explained that NBA teams, especially those who already have two superstars on their roster, will prefer to sign someone who can excel in an off-ball capacity rather than another ball-dominant player that could ruin their chemistry. Fizdale urged their pending free agents to think more of what is best for the team instead of themselves.
It’s easy to understand why Coach David Fizdale decided to be critical to his players. The Knicks are dead-last in assists per game and have lost 18 of their last 20 games. Fizdale didn’t mention any specific name but some of the Knicks’ players whose contract is about to expire after the 2018-19 NBA season include Trey Burke, Emmanuel Mudiay, Lance Thomas, Mario Hezonja, Noah Vonleh, Luke Kornet, and Enes Kanter.
Allonzo Trier could also hit the free agency market as his contract for the 2019-20 NBA season is a team option. Kristaps Porzingis, who is set to become a restricted free agent, is expected to be one of the Knicks’ top priorities in the 2019 NBA free agency. With the Knicks planning to sign a max-level free agent, it is highly likely that most of their pending free agents will be wearing a different jersey next season.