Breaking down 3 free agency decisions for the Knicks
The Knicks still have to figure out if they’ll have a first-round pick at their disposal this year. That’ll be settled this week at the draft lottery in Chicago, where there’s a 20% chance the Mavericks’ pick falls outside of the top-10 and conveys to New York.
In the meantime — and before we get into the trade market — there are big contract questions Leon Rose will tackle in the summer with three of his own players:
A revelation for the Knicks after being acquired in February, Hart will likely turn down a $12.9 million player option to become an unrestricted free agent.
The expectation is the Knicks re-sign Hart on a multi-year deal — something in the range of four years, $70 million — which would represent a substantial salary increase for the 28-year-old.
He’ll be negotiating from a comfortable place. The Knicks already gave up a first-round pick for Hart, and the personal connections (he’s Leon Rose’s former client and tight with Jalen Brunson) make this easy to predict.
This will be interesting. Quickley emerged as a top-flight sixth man during the regular season, picking up his defense and finding an important role in Tom Thibodeau’s rotation. Then Quickley struggled in the playoffs and missed the final three games with a sprained ankle.
The 23-year-old is eligible for a contract extension this offseason, which experts predict will hit roughly four years, $80-plus million. That’s a lot of money for a streaky reserve.
What makes this intriguing is the Knicks don’t have to give Quickley the extension this summer. They can let him play out the season before hitting restricted free agency in 2024.
Like Quickley, Toppin is eligible for a contract extension off his rookie deal this summer. Unlike Quickley, Toppin doesn’t have a big role in Thibodeau’s rotation and would probably be valued more elsewhere.
Unless Knicks executive William Wesley steps in to get his guy Toppin a nice extension, it makes the most sense for both parties to wait for free agency in 2024.