New York Knicks: Re-Signing Kristaps Porzingis should be top priority

NBA New York Knicks Kristaps Porzingis (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
NBA New York Knicks Kristaps Porzingis (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

Kristaps Porzingis is the most important ingredient for the New York Knicks. The most important decision that the New York Knicks can make is to sign The Unicorn to a lucrative contract extension.

Kristaps Porzingis in my humble opinion is worth the extension. I know that he will be coming off an injury. The trepidation that comes with that is understandable. I get it. However, Porzingis is one of those players that can be a transcendent player for the New York Knicks.

Let’s not forget what the Unicorn brings to the table for New York:

Career scoring average: 17.8. A career high of 22.7 in 2018.

Career FG percentage: 44%

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Career 3-pt percentage: 36%

Blocks/game: 2.0

Free throw percentage: 80%

Kristaps Porzingis is a nightmare as a match up for anybody in the NBA. He’s 7-foot-4, can handle the ball, can take the ball to the rim, can shoot from the outside, will block your shot, and is athletic as most small forwards in the league.

Porzingis has shown that he can develop into an elite player. An elite player with his size and skill set that doesn’t come around all that often. Kritaps is that ultimate 2-way type of player that NBA head coaches and general managers just dream about.

If you can remember back to the beginning of last season, the Unicorn was on a tear stat wise. In his first 11 games alone he was averaging 30.4 points a game, 7.3 rebounds a game and 2.3 blocks per game. Kristaps was truly putting up MVP caliber numbers.

Despite the Knicks dismal record, Kristaps was making the Knicks somewhat relevant again.

Porzingis was making his value to New York readily apparent. His numbers have improved each of his first three seasons. He went from averaging 14.3 points a game his rookie season, to 18.3 points a game in his second season, to 22.7 last season before the injury curtailed his season. His 3-point percentage has gone up as well each of his first three seasons. Porzingis started out as a 33 percent 3-point shooter and last season shot 40 percent.

The improvements in his stats show that this is a guy who wants to be a great player. He spends time on his game and he takes the game of basketball very seriously.

Playing in New York is tough. It is the toughest media market to play in, but Kristaps Porzingis has handled it better than most players would. He was put into this New York City media madness as a teenager, plus Porzingis was booed by the Knick faithful when he was drafted.

This is a player who is humble, but yet confident in his abilities. Porzingis is the face of the franchise right now. Signing Kristaps to an extension will give the New York Knicks something to sell future free agents like Kyrie Irving, Klay Thompson, or Jimmy Butler on next summer.

Who wouldn’t want to play with a big man with the skills of Porzingis?

To come out playing like he has in his first three seasons tells you everything you need to know about Kristaps Porzingis and his dedication to the game of basketball.

I understand the concerns that the Knicks may have with him coming off the ACL injury.

It’s part of the reason that the Knicks have not signed him yet. It’s clearly obvious that New York is waiting to see how Porzingis and his knee respond during the season. Any professional sports organization is going to do this with a player.

The reason the franchise may wait are for salary cap reasons.

If Porzingis looks healthy and plays outstanding basketball when he returns it will be to the Knicks advantage to wait until the summer of 2019 to lock Porzingis up long-term. New York will gain about $10 million dollars in cap space by waiting until next summer to sign Porzingis.

The Knicks management has made no bones about the fact that they want to make a splash in next summers free agent market. The creativeness that the Knicks front office is going to have to show to create nearly $32 million dollars to sign a big time free agent will have to be huge. By simply waiting until next summer to sign Porzingis the Knicks will have an extra $10 million to spend on free agents.

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If the Knicks do sign a max-level free agent then they can go over the cap number to offer Kristaps Porzingis the $158 million extension.

The bottom line is this. Kristaps Porzingis is a player that any team would covet. The New York Knicks currently have him and would be absolutely crazy to let him go anywhere else.